Home Opinion Press Releases The Costs of the AfDB’s Feed Africa Initiative to Farmers: An In-Depth...

The Costs of the AfDB’s Feed Africa Initiative to Farmers: An In-Depth Look at the 40 National Compacts

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Feed Africa Initiative
Feed Africa Initiative

New report from the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa questions the Dakar II initiative

The Africa Food Sovereignty Alliance (AFSA) today unveiled a comprehensive report that critically examines the African Development Bank’s ambitious Dakar II initiative, which part of the broader framework of the “Feed Africa” program. This initiative, entitled “Feeding Africa: Food Sovereignty and Resilience”, aims to revolutionize African agriculture with a view to making the continent a global breadbasket. However, AFSA’s analysis raises significant concerns about its approach and its implications for smallholder farmers on the continent.

AFSA’s in-depth review of the 40 “country compacts” under the Dakar II initiative reveals a strategy heavily focused on the industrialization of food systems, with a proposed budget of $61 billion. Critics say the strategy risks marginalizing small-scale farmers, compromising biodiversity and increasing dependence on multinationals for seeds and agrochemicals. Ireland’s president and other voices highlighted the initiative’s unique methodology, which emphasizes large-scale monoculture and high-tech solutions that might be inaccessible to small farmers due to their cost and environmental risks.

Representing a coalition of 41 member networks in 50 countries, AFSA is one of the main critics of the Dakar II agreements and advocates for agroecology and food sovereignty. This position emphasizes sustainable agriculture and the empowerment of smallholder farmers, impacting an estimated 200 million people and challenging the initiative’s trajectory toward green revolution-style industrialization.

The report highlights the need to reassess the current direction of the Dakar II initiative and calls for a rebalancing towards more inclusive, sustainable and holistic approaches such as agroecology. It details the initiative’s potential to sideline small-scale farmers, who are essential to Africa’s food security and cultural heritage, and warns of the environmental risks posed by proposed industrial agriculture on nearly 22 million hectares of land.

The main criticisms focus on the initiative’s one-size-fits-all approach, threats to land rights, marginalization of small-scale farmers, risks to biodiversity and the possibility of increased dependence on multinational seed companies. AFSA’s recommendations call for a reassessment of the initiative’s approach, protecting the land rights of smallholders, promoting agroecology, adopting inclusive and participatory approaches and preservation of agricultural biodiversity.

As the Dakar II initiative seeks to invest in the future of African agriculture, the AFSA report makes a vital call for this development to benefit all stakeholders, while preserving the rich biodiversity and of the continent’s agricultural heritage.

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