The African Development Bank (AfDB) has launched a US$63mn agricultural initiative which aims to reduce the need for food imports and boost crop production across 20 African countries
The initiative, known as the Support for Agriculture Research and Development of Strategic Crops (SARD-SC), aims to help countries including Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Burundi and Rwanda.
A statement released by partners of the project said, “The plan is to reduce food importation from other continents and offer farmers better access to markets, improve livelihoods, and tackle poverty through enhanced capacities of beneficiaries to sustainable development in the region.”
According to AfDB, the SARD-SC project will raise the productivity of maize, cassava, wheat and rice by 20 per cent in the selected countries, with approximately one million farmers set to benefit directly from the scheme.
The initiative, which will run until 2016, will be co-implemented by three Africa-based CGIAR centres - the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), the Africa Rice Center and the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA).
Dr Chrysantus Akem, project co-ordinator of SARD-SC said, “Narrowing the yield gap is key for African farmers, and it will help them to compete globally and to feed themselves.”