The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank have approved the reallocation of $3 million in loan resources to help Togo purchase agricultural inputs to enhance food security in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The approval on 18 June, enables required funds from a previously approved African Development Fund loan to be channeled to the Togo Agro-Food Processing Project, for the purchase of fertilizers, 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% of GDP and employs almost 65% of its active population. If the pandemic persists, the risk of a food crisis similar to that of 2008 is quite high.
The Togo government wants to avert such a crisis by taking the appropriate measures, in particular by purchasing quality agricultural inputs for producers
A statement by AfDB said t he use of the inputs was 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, AfDB set up a COVID-19 Response Facility of up to $10bn to provide its regional member countries the resources necessary to deal with the pandemic.
A budget support package worth $27.44m to Togo, is currently under consideration to provide further support to enhance the nation’s economic and health resilience in the face of COVID-19.