TOGO – The Republic of Togo has secured aUS$3 million loan from the African Development Bank (AfDB) to support the county’s agricultural sector in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The approval of the loan by AfDB’s board enables the funds 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 according to AfDB, will help farmers to handle the effects of COVID-19 during the coming cropping season.

Since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic in March, African governments have adopted strict containment measures, which have had adverse economic effects across the continent.

The health crisis has already disrupted food chains through its impacts on food supply and demand, and a decline in producers’ purchasing power, production capacity and access to agricultural inputs.

Various countries have made a number of efforts to cushion their agriculture sector from the adverse impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nigeria has for instance pumped US$294.9 million in the fertilizer industry to boost agricultural produce while Ghana through its COCOBOD has launched US$600m syndicated loan to boost operations in the country’s cocoa sector.

Togo like many African nations, is highly dependent on its agricultural sector, which accounts for more than 40% of GDP and employs almost 65% of its active population.

AfDB notes that if the COVID-19 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, according to AfDB, 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.

AfDB is also currently considering a budget support package worth $27.44 million to Togo to further support to enhance the nation’s economic and health resilience in the face of COVID-19.

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.

To help curb the effects of COVID-19 in Africa, the African Development Bank has also 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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