Ethiopia boosted by African Development Bank $84m grant for wheat production

August 21, 2023

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has awarded grant funding totalling $84.3m to Ethiopia to enhance wheat production and increase incomes for farmers.

Ethiopia’s finance minister Ahmed Shide and AfDB deputy director general for East Africa, Abdul Kamara, signed the grant agreement at the beginning of August in order to implement a new project in the country: Climate-Resilient Wheat Value Chain Development (CREW).

The grant comprises $54m from the African Development Fund, the bank’s concessional lending window for low-income countries; a further $20m from the government of the Netherlands; $10m from agribusiness and fertiliser firm OCP Africa, and $300,000 from the Netherlands-based Global Center on Adaptation. The Ethiopian government will contribute $10m in counterpart funding for the project.

The project has three components:

  • Climate-smart wheat productivity and production
  • Market infrastructure, linkages, and agri-finance
  • Project coordination and management.

Boosting agricultural productivity

Under the flagship Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) initiative, the AfDB has supported Ethiopia and several other countries across the continent to boost productivity in agriculture.

CREW was designed to scale up and sustain TAAT’s mission and its results. The plan, which supports Ethiopia’s wheat self-sufficiency aims, will be implemented over five years. According to AfDB, the project will benefit 500,000 small-scale farming households.

During the signing, held in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, AfDB’s Kamara said: “The CREW project will ensure that farmers can access agricultural inputs to raise local production of wheat such that supply disruptions resulting from the Russia-Ukraine crisis do not worsen the food security situation already made precarious by Covid-19, climate change and the rising cost of living. It also seeks to sustain Ethiopia’s exemplary strides in attaining wheat self-sufficiency and export orientation, a model that other African countries should emulate.”

Self-sufficiency aims

Kamara added: “The signing of this grant demonstrates the AfDB’s unwavering commitment to supporting Ethiopia and its people, and further reaffirms the partnership between the bank and the government towards achieving the country’s vision of becoming a lower middle-income country by 2025.”

Ethiopia’s finance minister Ahmed Shide lauded the bank’s support, noting that the project will assure, or even accelerate, the government’s wheat self-sufficiency initiatives.

Wheat farming in Africa - Ethiopia
Ethiopia wants to be a wheat exporter within two to three years. [Photo credit: Juanita Swart – Unsplash]

Ethiopia is the second-largest wheat producer in sub-Saharan Africa, after South Africa. The country plans to become wheat self-sufficient and a net exporter within two to three years, aiming to produce an additional 4.2m tonnes of irrigated wheat by deploying proven technologies and innovations such as those from TAAT.

This latest grant brings AfDB’s current commitment to Ethiopia to $1.23bn. The funding covers several sectors including basic services, energy, transport, water supply and sanitation, agriculture, and the private sector.

The African Development Bank Group is the premier development finance institution on the continent. It comprises three distinct entities: the African Development Bank (AfDB), the African Development Fund (ADF) and the Nigeria Trust Fund (NTF). The group is active in 41 African countries with an external office in Japan. The bank claims to contribute to the economic development and the social progress of all 54 of its regional member states.

Supporting climate resistance

Next month (27-28 September), AfDB will host a ‘Digital Climate Advisory Services Training’ to support climate resilience for smallholder agriculture in Southern Africa. The event will take place online and in-person at the Kopanong Conference Center, Johannesburg, South Africa with online registration required.

The two-day training session will bring together key public and private sector change makers from Southern Africa who can effectively implement and scale up digital climate advisory services. The training, organised on behalf of the Global Center on Adaptation by Weather Impact and Aqualinks, will share knowledge and best practices and explore the latest innovations and approaches that promote the adoption of digital climate advisory services in the region.

AdfB webinar on climate mitigations, Ethiopia and southern Africa
Digital climate advisory services are said to be crucial in assisting farmers in navigating the complexities of climate change.

Climate change poses significant challenges to agricultural practices that have traditionally relied on intergenerational knowledge transfer. With the increasing unpredictability of weather patterns and the rise in extreme weather events like floods and droughts, farmers face immense difficulties in sustaining their livelihoods.

In this context, digital climate advisory services have emerged as crucial tools to assist farmers and governments in navigating the complexities of climate change. By leveraging advanced technologies and data analysis, these services can provide timely weather information, customised recommendations, and support in implementing climate-smart practices.

[Lead image courtesy of Robert Wiedemann – Unsplash.]

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