Nigeria’s agricultural sector has received a boost from the World Bank. The bank’s Board of Executive Directors on Monday in Washington approved two International Development Association (IDA)* credits totaling US$300 million to boost the Government of Nigeria’s efforts to expand its agriculture sector while also providing food security and improved nutrition of the rural poor.
The IDA credit of US$100 million will fund the Nigeria Agriculture Sector Development Policy Operation, the first of two projects that will support the 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.
“Nigeria has an enormous opportunity to to promote a vibrant, competitive and technology-propelled agricultural sector, which today employs 70 percent of the population,” said Marie- Francoise Marie-Nelly, the World Bank Country Director for Nigeria. “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 US$200 million will fund the Third National Fadama Development Project (Fadama III). These funds will support smallholder farmers, organized 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-organized markets and to small and large-scale food processors.
“The Fadama Development Project is an innovative approach to leverage private sector investments and to establish business linkages between large investors and smallholder farmers,” said Jamal Saghir, World Bank Director of Sustainable Development for the Africa Region. “It will assist the Nigerian Government in its efforts to expand employment, raise household incomes and enhance skills and capacity.”
* The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing loans (called “credits”) and grants for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives.
IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 82 poorest countries, 40 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change for 2.5 billion people living on less than $2 a day. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 108 countries. Annual commitments have increased steadily and averaged about $15 billion over the last three years, with about 50 percent of commitments going to Africa.