Nigeria: World Bank Earmarks U.S.$300 Million to Boost Agriculture

from allafrica.com..

BY JAMES EMEJO | This Day (Nigeria)

2 JULY 2013

The World Bank Monday announced a $300 million credit for Nigeria, to boost the federal government’s efforts to expand its agriculture sector, enhance food security as well as to improve nutrition for the rural poor.

The World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Francoise Marie-Nelly revealed this in a statement. The bank’s Board of Executive Directors had approved two International Development Association (IDA) credit facilities to support the transformation of the sector.

The IDA credit of $100 million is expected to fund the Nigeria Agriculture Sector Development Policy Operation, the first of two projects that would support Government’s Agricultural Transformation Agenda. The operation includes efforts to strengthen policies and capacity to raise yields, promote market access among farmers, and improve overall management of the country’s rapidly expanding agriculture industry.

Marie-Nelly explained: “Nigeria has an enormous opportunity to promote a vibrant, competitive and technology-propelled agricultural sector, which today employs 70 per cent of the population.

“This new project focuses on providing opportunity to Nigeria’s growing ranks of agribusiness entrepreneurs in a way that will generate higher incomes for farmers while also enhancing expansion in the industrial sector, ensuring food security and enhancing foreign exchange earnings.”

The second IDA credit of $200 million would provide funding for the Third National Fadama Development Project (Fadama III).

According to her, these funds would support smallholder farmers, organised in clusters in six states, activities designed to increase their production of food staples, including cassava, rice, sorghum, and processing them for delivery. The funds will also link the farmers to better-organised markets and to small and large-scale food processors.

Also speaking on the project, the World Bank Director of Sustainable Development for the Africa Region, Jamal Saghir, said: “The Fadama Development Project is an innovative approach to leverage private sector investments and to establish business linkages between large investors and smallholder farmers. It will assist the Nigerian Government in its efforts to expand employment, raise household incomes and enhance skills and capacity.”

Established in 1960, IDA helps the world’s poorest countries by providing loans and grants for projects and programmes that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives.

Link to the article: http://allafrica.com/stories/201307020852.html

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