AATF commits US$110 million to food security in Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, others

African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF), an independent and non-profit organisation, with headquarters in Kenya, over the week end in Abuja, said it has committed over $110 million through the application of appropriate technology and improved seedlings to meeting Africa's food security challenge in Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Mozambique, Zambia, Senegal, Tanzania and Uganda.

Addressing the media on the activities lined up to mark the Foundation's 10th anniversary on Tuesday, the Chairperson, Board of Directors, Prof. Idah Sithole-Niang, stated that AATF receives its core financial support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the United Kingdom's Department for International Development (DFID), the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

She listed other contributory donors to include Pepsico, the Howard Buffett Foundation and support coming from the various governments within the Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).

She said AATF's public private partnership model of agricultural development is targeted towards smallholding farmers.

While targeting the entire continent, she added that after 10 years, its presence is yielding positive results in 10 countries.

According to Sithole-Niang, AATF partners in the continent cut across Africa's national agricultural research and extension institutions, governments, seed traders, agribusiness community, civil society organisation, leading industry technology developers and research centres across the continent. She said AATF is committed to better harvest and better living for rural farmers through ensuring that constrained farmers have better tools and disease resistant seedlings.

Underscoring AATF's mandate, she said: "Improved and stabilised yields enabling farmers to plan for the future, increased income creating better quality of life and enhanced nutrition levels contributing to a healthier, more food secure Africa."

In a remark, Dr. Dannis Kyetere, a director in the Foundation, said the establishment of AAFT was a result of the noticeable missing gap in agricultural production in the continent by several stakeholders in Europe and America. Since establishment in 2003, Kyetere said AATF has been addressing the critical challenge for agriculture in SSA through access and delivery of technology.

"AATF is about African farmers and linking them with practical, technology solutions. Use of appropriate technology is key to reversing the low agricultural productivity in Africa and unlocking the potential of the smallholders. These technologies vary depending on the priority needs identified by the farmers and can include chemical, mechanical, biotechnological and process based solutions," he said.

Kyetere stated that the recent demonstration of the Cassava Mechanisation and Agro Processing Project (CAMAP), by AATF in Kwara State is a sign that yields can increase several folds using the right technology, adding that one of the constraints to cassava production in Africa is lack of technology for planting, harvesting and processing.

Asked many farmers who are likely to benefit from the innovation, he said within the next five years, over one million Nigerian farmers will benefit from the project. With an evidence-based clip, the director said a man-hour labour of 35 hours can be carried within 45 minutes in the planting of over 100 hectares of land, using the appropriate technology.

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