AfDB earmarks $120m
Uche Usim, Abuja
Hopes of improved agricultural yields in Nigeria and indeed Africa brightened yesterday as the Nigerian Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) Plc, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the African Development Bank (AfDB), the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and other players in agriculture have planned a robust investment in technology to boost yields and generate gainful employment for the the country.
This is even as the AfDB has pledged to invest $120 million over the next three years to boost productivity and transform nine commodities which include cassava, rice, maize, sorghum/ millet, wheat, livestock, aquaculture, high iron beans and orange-fleshed sweet potatoes in Africa.
To this end, the multi-stakeholders’ deal seeks to adopt regional and homegrown technologies that are enhanced by strategic partnerships of agriculture experts.
Speaking at the meeting, the Managing Director of NIRSAL Plc, Mr Aliyu Abdulhameed, said that “one of the objectives of the partnership with IITA and the AfDB through the Technologies for African Agriculture Transformation (TAAT) programme was to support the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), even as he described it as a successful venture of the Federal Government.
“The transformation of these nine commodities will be achieved through TAAT, a key platform for driving the Feed Africa strategy of the AfDB.
However, the resources required to achieve the objectives of Feed Africa strategy are huge and well beyond what could be achieved by the AfDB alone, the bank is, therefore, developing strategic alliances and partnerships to help mobilize resources to achieve these objectives. This is why NIRSAL has convened decision makers from IITA, FMARD, AfDB, TAAT Programme Management Unit and Clearing house, representatives of commodity technology delivery and enabler compacts from various international agricultural research institutes across the globe, international and local stakeholders to explore ways of bringing TAAT technologies to scale, facilitating adoption and delivering them to millions of Nigerian farmers efficiently, effectively and sustainably.
“Even if you have sufficient yield, the yield itself is another factor because while the government can provide NIRSAL all the financing required, it is one thing to make the farmer raise his yield from half a tonne of 800kilos to about 4-5 tonnes that is required. Again, we believe that when we consolidate this partnership with IITA and AFDB, using the TAAT veritable tools to ensure that farmers under the ABP, immediately increase their yields from the average of what they have now to almost double or triple what they produce typically in the country.