Togo: As Covid-19 pandemic persists, AfDB diverts $3 mln initially reserved for agrohub project to the acquisition of farm inputs

Agriculture
Wednesday, 24 June 2020 16:57
Togo: As Covid-19 pandemic persists, AfDB diverts $3 mln initially reserved for agrohub project to the acquisition of farm inputs

(Togo First) - Fearing that a coronavirus-induced food crisis might hit Togo and its neighbors, the African Development Bank (AfDB) has decided to reallocate the $3 million budget initially set aside for the agrohub project to purchase agricultural inputs. 

In Togo, this financing will be used to buy fertilizers, organic pesticides, and seeds for about 150,000 small farmers. 

“These inputs should help boost the production of maize by 12,700 tons, rice by 18,000 t, sesame by 1,700 t, and vegetables by 2,200 t,” according to the AfDB. 

The looming crisis could be similar to that of 2008, the pan-African institution said. For Togo, which strongly depends on external trade and agriculture, things could be dire. 

Agriculture, let it be recalled, contributes more than 40% of Togo’s GDP, and employs nearly 65% of its active population. However, it is greatly underfinanced (capturing only about 0.2% of bank loans), despite many initiatives to boost the local output, consumption, and processing value chains. As a result, the country’s food import bill is very high and keeps increasing. 

“Besides mitigating the impacts of the COVID-19 on food security, buying farm inputs will in the long run help boost agricultural production and subsequently cut food imports,” declared Marti Fregene, Head of AfDB’s agriculture and agribusiness arm. 

Fiacre E. Kakpo

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