The World Bank said it has currently committed to about $400 million into the Nigerian agriculture, and also unveiled plans to commit another $200 million in the nation’s livestock development.
The Bank representative, Shehu Salau, who disclosed this at the Regional Wrap-up meeting of the West Africa Agricultural Productivity Programme (WAAPP) Implementation Support Missions, on Monday, said the World Bank has prioritized 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 of pushing investment and support the government to achieve these objectives”.
When asked if the World Bank will continue the WAAPP-Nigeria programme, which would be rounded up this year, Salau said the government was yet to declare interest to continue the programme, as such the Bank may not continue with the programme in the country.
“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 said the aim of the WAAPP programme in West Africa is 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 the programme 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.