The African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved the reallocation of US$3mn in loan resources to help Togo purchase agricultural inputs to enhance food security in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic
The approval enables required funds from a previously approved African Development Fund (ADF) loan to be channeled to the Togo Agro-Food Processing Project (PTA-Togo), for the purchase of fertilisers, organic pesticides and seeds for approximately 150,000 smallholder farmers. The implements will help farmers to handle the effects of COVID-19 during the coming cropping season.
Since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic in March, African governments have adopted strict containment measures, which have had adverse economic effects across the continent. The health crisis has already disrupted food chains through its impacts on food supply and demand, and a decline in producers' purchasing power, production capacity and access to agricultural inputs.
Togo is highly dependent on its agricultural sector, which accounts for more than 40 per cent of GDP and employs almost 65 per cent of its active population. If the pandemic persists, the risk of a food crisis similar to that of 2008 is quite high. The Government of Togo wants to avert such a crisis by taking the appropriate measures, in particular by purchasing quality agricultural inputs for producers The use of these inputs is projected to boost additional production of 12,700 tonnes of maize, 18,000 tonnes of rice, 1,700 tonnes of sesame seeds and 2,200 tonnes of market garden produce.
“In addition to reducing the effects of COVID-19 on food security, the planned input procurement operation will will ultimately contribute to increasing production and thereby reduce food imports,” director Martin Fregene said.
To help curb the effects of COVID-19 in Africa, the African Development Bank has set up a COVID-19 Response Facility (CRF) of up to US$10bn to provide its Regional Member Countries the resources necessary to deal with the pandemic.