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The UK Pledges $27 Million to Combat Food Insecurity

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In an effort to address food security in Nigeria, Kenya, and Uganda, the British International Investment (BII), the UK’s development finance institution, has committed $26.5 million to AFEX.

On Wednesday, Nick O’Donohoe, CEO of BII, spoke to journalists in Lagos and explained that the investment would support the structural improvement of Africa’s agricultural industry. This improvement would greatly benefit smallholder farmers and contribute to enhancing security.

O’Donohoe revealed that AFEX currently operates over 200 warehouses in Nigeria, Kenya, and Uganda, serving more than 450,000 farmers.

“BII’s investment will be used to construct 20 warehouses strategically located in Nigeria, Kenya, and Uganda. The funding will also be applied to the scaling of warehouse technology and next-generation software capable of capturing post-harvest pricing,” added O’Donohoe.

 Regarding the benefits of smart storage solutions, O’Donohoe emphasized their potential to extend the lifespan of harvested crops and increase the quantity of available food.

 He stated that the additional warehouses would create storage capacity for 230,000 metric tonnes, enabling 200,000 more farmers to access affordable storage and maximize sales from their harvests.

 Furthermore, O’Donohoe noted that this initiative would help increase farmers’ incomes by over 200 percent.

“Supporting smallholder farmers in earning fair wages is crucial for ensuring their continued operations and increasing production of more and higher-quality crops for local consumption.

“Agriculture in Nigeria, Kenya, and Uganda accounts for a quarter of the gross domestic product and employs 70 percent of their populations, with 80 percent being smallholder and subsistence farmers. Currently, farmers face challenging financial circumstances due to macroeconomic uncertainty, limited market access, and unreliable sales from their crop harvests. Yields have declined, and farmers’ incomes are increasingly affected by rising prices of agricultural inputs and extreme weather events,” he declared.

O’Donohoe shared that the capital will also be used to establish a soybean processing plant in Ibadan and a drying facility in Uganda.

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