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AfDB seeks to lift 1 billion people out of hunger

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By Taonga Sabola:

AT RISK—Some of the people affected by hunger

The African Development Bank (AfDB) on Tuesday called on global partners to join hands to lift one billion people worldwide out of hunger and said it was leading the way by investing $24 billion in African agriculture over the next 10 years.

“We are not winning the war against global hunger,” Bank President Akinwumi Adesina told an agriculture conference at Purdue University in Indianapolis, United States of America.

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“We must not get carried away,” Adesina added in a statement, referring to statistics showing a decline in the global population living on less than two dollars per day.

In reality, the number of hungry people in the world had increased from 777 million in 2015 to 815 million in 2016, he said, citing the latest World Food Security and Nutrition data.

Adesina told the audience that included researchers, implementing organisations, business leaders, policymakers and donors that simple technical and scientific methods were already making a whole difference to farm yields and income in Africa. While technologies to deliver Africa’s green revolution exist, they are mostly just sitting on the shelves, he said.

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“The release of water efficient maize varieties now allows farmers to harvest good yields in the face of moderate drought,” he noted. “Today, rice varieties exist that can give yields of eight tonnes per hactare (ha). Cassava varieties exist with yields of up to 80 tonnes per hactare. Heat tolerant and disease-resistant livestock and technologies for ramping up aquaculture exist,” Adesina said.

Bank experts put current comparative yields at 1.5- 2 tonnes per hactare for rice and 10-15 tonnes per ha for cassava.

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