Mon. Jul 15th, 2024

Nigeria To Secure $134m ADB Loan Under Its National Agricultural Growth Scheme — Minister

By Mohammed Suleiman, Dutse.

The African Development Bank has signified its intention to loan Nigeria, $134m as an integral part of the National Agricultural Growth Scheme and AgroPocket (NAGS-AP) Project.

The facility is to help Nigeria expand the capacity of farmers to engage in the cultivation of key staples like rice, maize, cassava and wheat, across the country.

The Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Sen Abubakar Kyari disclosed this in jigawa while flagging off this year’s Wheat Dry Season farming.

The aim is to increase crop yields by at least 20% compared to the previous year. Others like soybeans and sorghum would follow in the wet season.

The Minister said,” Our farmers remain our most prized assets as a Nation, given that they produce the bulk of the food consumed in the country. As such, His Excellency Mr. President has charged us to ensure that they are adequately supported to increase their productivity. In this regard, we have set ambitious targets. In wheat alone, we aim to support between 150,000 to 250,000 farmers with 50% input subsidy to cultivate between 200,000 to 250,000 hectares and an expected yield of 1,250,000 tonnes of wheat.

“Other selected staples are earmarked for similar, varied support, all aimed at significantly reducing food inflation, as well as Nigeria‚Äôs dependence on foreign import, while increasing domestic consumption. Ultimately, this will promote agricultural self-sufficiency and stimulate economic growth.

“To achieve our goals, government is committed to ensure that the support does get to the farmer. Accordingly, the Program will be Technology enabled, thus guaranteeing transparency and accountability in the provision of the subsidy and other support services like extension, insurance and additional finance.
“Equally, our farmers are guaranteed access to improved seeds – in this particular instance, I would like to point out that we are deploying heat tolerant wheat varieties like Borlaug 100; Attila etc. Furthermore, we will progressively invest in irrigation infrastructure projects to optimize water usage and mitigate the challenges posed by the dry season.
“Undoubtedly, we do not expect a bed of roses and know that our path will be riddled with challenges. Indeed, there have been quite a few already. But we are poised to take them on. We have been innovative in utilizing Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to: target already proven irrigated farm clusters; deploy verified farmer data; and map the farmers to AgroDealer Redemption Centers; and thankfully, we have already gained grounds.

Responding Governor Umar Namadi of jigawa state expressed gratitude to the Federal Government for choosing Jigawa State and for providing the farmers with significant help saying that more than 42,000 farmers will have their lives changed by the project.

On the lingering Hadejia Valley Irrigation Project which was abandoned for quite along, Governor Namadi made a passionate appeal to the federal government for its ealier commissioning because of its utmost importance to food security.

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