World Bank committed $400m to Nigeria’s agriculture – Official

From left: traditional ruler of Otukpo Odu, Dr John Eimonye; Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh and a community leader, Wilson Ochinyabo, flagging off the planting of sesame seeds on a farm at Otukpo Odu, on Friday.

The World Bank has announced that it has currently committed about $400 million into Nigerian agriculture, as it also plans to commit another $200 million in the nation’s livestock development.

This was disclosed in Abuja by an official of the Bank, Shehu Salau at the Regional Wrap-up meeting of the West Africa Agricultural Productivity Programme (WAAPP) Implementation Support Mission.

According to him, the World Bank prioritised agriculture and energy in the African economy due to the fact that Africa is largely agrarian.

His words: “Our portfolio in Nigeria is about $400 million, but we have an engagement to scale up the support. We have a $200 million staple crop processing zone project; we also have about $200 million livestock project.

“World Bank has prioritised agriculture and energy because if you look at the economy of Africa, you will see that it is largely agrarian, so the Bank stands worthy to push investment to support the government to achieve these objectives.”

When asked if the World Bank would continue the WAAPP-Nigeria programme which will be rounding up this year, Salau said the government of Nigeria has not yet declared interest to continue the programme, therefore the World Bank may not continue the programme in Nigeria.

“The World Bank works with the government and if the Bank does not receive a request from the government to continue the project, the Bank will comply. As I speak now, the bank is yet to receive any official communication from the government of Nigeria to continue the programme,” he added.

Also speaking, the ECOWAS Commissioner for Agriculture, Environment and Water Resources, Tchambakou Ayassor the aim of the WAAPP programme in West Africa was to achieve food security in the region.

According to him, “ECOWAS adopted the agricultural policy (WAAPP) in 2005 and since then, so many programmes have been taken up to implement the policy, and in areas of research and agricultural productivity, we are implementing those programmes in order to reach the regions.

“We are promising that the whole region will get together to continue working on the improvement of agricultural productivity. The main objective of ECOWAS in Nigeria is mainly to get food security for all the regions,” he noted.

While delivering his address, the National Project Coordinator of WAAPP-Nigeria, Dr James Apochi recalled that WAAPP-Nigeria facilitated farmers’ access to genetic materials including crop seed and fingerlings.

He also said the programme piloted new models of advisory services with the introduction of adoption of improved technologies, and also imported technologies from the sub-region to help curtail wastages and post harvest losses.