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Canada releases $78m for smallholder food producers in Africa

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By AGGREY MUTAMBO

The Canadian government has announced a $78 million contribution to a funding kitty of the African Development Bank (AfDB) to aid local food producers improve their yield.

The money, to be disbursed as concessional loans, will target small and medium enterprises involved in agribusiness especially those founded and run by women.

The money was announced this week as the Bank launched its Emergency Food Production Facility, a $1.5 billion project aimed at raising African yield of food production to 38 million tonnes by end of 2022.

The Bank said it will raise an initial $1.3 billion and partners will raise the rest to support up to 20 million farmers across the continent with soft loans worth of certified seed, fertiliser and technology necessary to improve yield.

Canadian minister of International Development, Harjit S Sajjan, announced the funding this week on his tour of East Africa where he met with local leaders.

The money will be disbursed as part of the Assistance Innovation Programme which the Canadian government uses to support private enterprises involved in Sustainable Development Goals such as fighting hunger or climate change.

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The Canadian government, the fourth largest shareholder of the AfDB’s non-African members, says the $78 million will be crucial as Africa seeks alternative sources of food after the war in Ukraine curtailed one of the biggest sources of grain for the continent, earlier this year.

Seven in ten food items in Africa are produced, processed or moved to consumers by small or medium enterprises including smallholder farmers.

“Africa’s agri-SMEs are dynamic but face challenges in accessing finance for growth and expansion. Canada is proud to support the AFDB, which has the expertise and networks to turn this challenge into an opportunity,” a statement from the Canadian Ministry of International Development said on Tuesday.

‘The Agri-Food Catalytic Financing Mechanism (ACFM) will provide concessional finance to agribusinesses, financial institutions and impact funds for on-lending to gender-oriented agri-SMEs in Africa that are aligned with green and inclusive growth objectives.”

Canada says it could raise an additional $156 million from public and private sources to “support climate-smart agriculture in Africa at this time of severe challenge to global food security, exacerbated by Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine.”



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