Canada pledges $7.3mn to boost Africa’s agricultural productivity

African woman harvesting high quality tender tea leaves and flushes by hand. Between Iten and Eldoret. Young African woman amongst tea bushes.Woven wicker basket on her back bending forward picking tea leaves in preparation for processing. Other pickers in distance. Labor intensive agriculture. Black tea.  Camellia sinensis

Global Affairs Canada has committed $7.3mn to the Africa Fertilizer Financing Mechanism (AFFM) in a significant move aimed at enhancing agricultural productivity and improving the livelihoods of smallholder farmers in Africa. This funding is a strategic part of the Mechanism’s ongoing efforts to promote sustainable agriculture through increased access to fertilizer and technical support, particularly targeting women and youth.

The financial infusion from Canada will bolster the AFFM’s “Fostering Africa’s Agricultural Productivity Through Fertilizer Value Chain Financing” (FOSTER) program, which is crucial for increasing food production and farmers’ incomes across Africa. Administered by the African Development Bank Group, the AFFM facilitates innovative financing solutions designed to accelerate fertilizer use on the continent, addressing a critical barrier to agricultural productivity in sub-Saharan Africa.

Dr. Beth Dunford, the Bank’s Vice President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development, expressed gratitude to Canada for supporting the implementation of the AFFM’s Strategic Plan 2022-2028. This plan aims to expand financing access, enact policy reforms, and make capital investments that benefit smallholder farmers in Africa.

The FOSTER program specifically targets 800,000 smallholder farmers, aiming to improve the availability and use of both organic and inorganic fertilizers. With the goal of increasing yields by 30%, the program intends to distribute 80,000 tons of fertilizer, with special attention to the inclusion of women and youth. These efforts are aligned with international developmental goals and Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy, which emphasizes gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Canada’s Minister of International Development, Ahmed Hussen, reaffirmed the commitment to fostering resilient and climate-smart agricultural practices in Africa, stating that Canada remains dedicated to promoting inclusive and sustainable growth.

Additionally, the upcoming African Union Commission’s Africa Fertilizer and Soil Health Summit, scheduled for May 2024 in Nairobi, will further discuss the progress and future plans under this initiative. The summit will serve as a platform to advance comprehensive strategies aimed at transforming African agriculture into a more productive, competitive, and sustainable sector, following up on commitments made at the Dakar 2 Food Summit in January 2023.

Marie Claire Kalihangabo, the Coordinator of the AFFM, welcomed the new partnership with Global Affairs Canada and highlighted the readiness to work together to effectively meet the goals of the AFFM and contribute to Africa’s agricultural transformation.

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