By Frankie Ifop
The African Development Bank (AfDB) has said it is giving three million dollars ($3,000,000) loan to one hundred and fifty thousand (150,000) smallholder farmers in Togo.
According to the Bank, the funds will be used to purchase agricultural inputs; including fertilizers, organic pesticides and seeds, to enhance food security in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now, if you divide $3,000,000 by 150,000 persons, each person will get $20 (twenty dollars) – is this amount fair enough as a farmer in Togo or Africa in whole?
On the Bank’s website, the approval on 18 June, 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 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.
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However, 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 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.
Speaking, AfDB’s Director, Martin Fregene, said: “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”.
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 $10 billion to provide its Regional Member Countries the resources necessary to deal with the pandemic.
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A budget support package worth $27.44 million 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.
As of 23 June, Togo has recorded 569 cases of covid-19 with 13 deaths and 380 recoveries.