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IFAD: Nigeria, others need $350bn to tackle hunger

Following the food crisis in Nigeria and other most vulnerable countries, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has stressed the need for investment of $350 billion per year over the next decade to address food shortage.

 

The organisation said that this could be achieved through the formation of a coalition of partners to turn that potential into action.

 

In July last year, IFAD, Bank of Industry (BoI), African Development Bank (AfDB), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and Islamic Development Bank (ISB) endorsed $800million to reduce poverty, hunger and increase resilience to climate change in rural communities in Nigeria.

 

However, IFAD added that transforming food systems that deliver healthy people, a healthy planet, and a healthy economy would require $300-$350 billion per year for the next decade, adding that this would also generate potential economic gains of $5.7 trillion annually.

 

The organisation had noted that more than 113 million people across 53 countries were experienced acute hunger, requiring urgent food, nutrition and livelihoods assistance.

 

The worst hit by food crises in 2018, in order of severity, were: Yemen, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, the Syrian Arab Republic, the Sudan,

South Sudan and northern Nigeria According to IFAD, Public Development Banks (PDBs) had the potential to help finance this and generate exponential social and economic returns.

PDBs are financial institutions controlled or supported by central or local governments that aim to deliver on public policy objectives to support economic development in a country or region. Currently, PDBs who invest in food and agriculture as part of their portfolio account for almost two thirds of the formal financing for agriculture.

 

According to research soon to be released by the Institute of New Structural Economics and AFD, their annual investments are estimated to reach as much as $1.4 trillion.

The President of IFAD, Gilbert F. Houngbo said: “Public development banks already make considerable investments in food and agriculture. If we harness and redirect those investments to support the transition towards fairer and more sustainable food systems, this could be a game-changer.

 

“We need PDBs to be part of strong, united and decisive action on a global scale if we want food systems to benefit all, particularly the poorest in rural areas who grow much of our food. The world’s financial system has resources that could be put to work to address the inequities and inefficiencies of our food systems while reducing their harmful impact on the planet.

 

“What we need are powerful actors with the political will and dedication to drive a new agenda and the financial clout to make it happen.”

 

He added that investments were required to change how the world grow, process, sell and consume food, so that food systems deliver nutritious food for all, provide decent livelihoods for those who work in them, and protect the environment and biodiversity

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