The World Bank has approved a $200 million credit to support the Nigerian agricultural sector, especially small and medium scale farmers in Nigeria.
Announcing this at its Washington DC, USA, headquarters, yesterday, the World Bank said “the project would help increase agricultural productivity and production, improve processing and marketing, foster job creation, and increase household income and livelihood in participating states.
The project will benefit women and youth businesses such as horticulture, poultry and aquaculture” It has been designed to tackle the key constraints of the Nigeria agriculture sector, such as low productivity, lack of seed funds for establishing agro-processing plants, lack of access to supportive infrastructure, and low level of technology adoption and limited access to markets.
Commenting on the development, the Country Director for Nigeria, Mr. Rachid Benmessaoud, said “Agriculture is key to long-term economic growth and diversification.
The project supports the country policy thrusts on food security, local production, job creation and economic diversification. It responds to the recurring issues of low productivity, limited farmers’ participation to agribusiness supply chains, and institutional realignment in the agricultural sector.
” Lead Agriculture Specialist at the World Bank, Mr. said El Hadj Adama Toure,. Also said, “Priority value chains under the project will include products with potential for immediate improvement of food security, products with a potential for export and foreign currency earnings (cocoa and cashew) and enhancement of the national production of crops including rice, maize, cassava and wheat.
“The number of project’s direct beneficiaries is 60,000 individuals, 35 percent of which will be women. Overall, about 300,000 farm household members are indirect beneficiaries.” The credit is financed from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank Group’s grant and low-interest arm. It will be on standard IDA terms, with a maturity of 25 years, including a grace period of 5 years.