By Ruth Tene Natsa
The World Bank has revealed that it has so far committed a whopping $400 million into the Nigerian agriculture and adding that it also plans to commit another $200 million in the nation’s livestock development.
This was revealed 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 in Abuja on Monday.
According to Salau, “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.”
He noted that, the World Bank had prioritised agriculture and energy in the African economy .
“World Bank have prioritised agriculture and energy because if you look at the economy of Africa, you will see that it is largely agrarian, so the Bank stand worthy to push investment to support the government to achieve this objectives.”
Asked if the World Bank would continue the WAAPP-Nigeria programme which would be rounding off this year, Salau said the government of Nigeria has not yet declared interest to continue the programme, which was the reason why 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, said 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.”