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On 12 March 2012, the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) signed a grant agreement for USD 63million to fund a multinational project titled “Support to Agricultural Research for Development of Strategic Crops in Africa (SARD-SC), and the IITA.
The aim of the grant from the African Development Fund, the AfDB Group concessional or ‘soft loan’ arm is to develop the value chains of four of the six strategic crops : rice, cassava, maize and wheat. They were defined by the Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP) in Africa.
The project will be implemented by three Africa-based centres of the Multinational Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). These are Africa Rice Centre (AfricaRice), the International Centre for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA).
The five-year multinational project is expected to contribute towards addressing the current shortfall in food supply on the continent.
This project comes at a time when food security and nutrition are high on the international and national agenda of African countries, as rising food prices push millions of people into extreme poverty. It allows, for the first time, in a single project, Africa-wide coverage of efforts to tackle food security challenges.
The project’s specific objective is to enhance the productivity and income from these four value chains on a sustainable basis. The project has four components: agricultural technologies and innovations generation; agricultural technologies and innovations dissemination; capacity building; and project management.
The key project outcomes are: (i) 20 percent yield increase in cassava, maize, rice and wheat; (ii) a 60 percent increase in the average annual household cash income of USD 370; and (iii) a 20 percent increase in food security to 84 percent at the end of the project’s five-year cycle.
The project of the Multinational Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research was signed by Abdirahman Beileh, acting director of the department of operations in agriculture at the AfDB, and Nteranya Sanginga, the IITA’s Director General.