Home Agriculture IFAD invests $110m every 3 years in Nigeria’s agric sector

IFAD invests $110m every 3 years in Nigeria’s agric sector

by Business News Report

International Fund for Agricultural Development, IFAD, weekend, disclosed of investing about $110 million every three years in Nigeria’s agricultural sector. The disclosure was made by the Associate Vice President, IFAD, Rome, Dr Donal Brown during a media conference on the heels of his High-Level meetings with the key government officials at both Federal and State levels along with partners, including the Vice President of Nigeria, Senator Kashim Shettima; Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Senator Abubakar Kyari; Minister of State Agriculture and Food Security, Senator Aliyu Abdullahi; Minister of Budget and National Planning; and Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu. Also, Brown met with the Governor of Enugu, Dr Peter Mbah; and Governor of Benue State, Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia, development Partners, farmers and private sector. Meanwhile, according to him, since 1978 IFAD had spent about $1.5 billion in Nigeria, while its current portfolio is about $400 million.

He said “The objective of my visit was to come and engage with the new government in Nigeria to review IFAD’s support to the government of Nigeria on food security and agriculture and to think about the future direction and support that we can play. Nigeria is facing many challenges as you all know, with inflation, with the issue around food. The president declared an emergency on food security and I think he can make a difference in that context. IFAD is not a humanitarian agency, but we work with rural communities, smallholder farmers to improve food security and agriculture, and our projects on the ground have been doing a lot of that.

We have been in Nigeria since 1978, and we have spent about $1.5 billion in Nigeria. Our current portfolio is about $400 million, we invest about $110 million every three years, and we are looking forward to future investments. I think the new government will be a very strong partner, I think we have an opportunity to support the government on the food security situation and also try to look at long-term solutions. We had a number of discussions with the government about the ongoing projects. Most of them are performing very well on the ground. Some have recently closed including a big one we had in northern Nigeria.”

He also said IFAD and the Nigerian government are designing new projects on food production. “So we are designing with the government a new project to support food production value chains in northern Nigeria and climate adaptation.” For the oil rich Niger Delta region, he also said, “We have a very good project in the Delta region particularly focused on youth entrepreneurship. For LIFE-ND the project is extremely successful and I think is obviously providing important results in an important region for Nigeria, the Niger Delta. When the project was designed we always thought we might do a phase two second project. Development does not happen overnight. I think very often we think there is a project for five to seven years or everything is resolved. Really sustainable development takes 20, 30 years. So we are already given how successful it has been, and we are already looking at a new phase but to give us time as we prepare, maybe a new bigger phase of that project. I am already happy to look at extending it for two years.

“And in the central belt, we have a very big flagship value chain project. We are also supporting with the African Development Bank, the Special Agric processing zone project and ensuring that smallholders can feed in.

VCDP is a very big flagship project in Nigeria and it has been going for nearly 10 years now, and we had a very good results on the ground, and I am sympathetic to an extension government has asked for.” Meanwhile, in his assessment of the ongoing projects he said, “There is very good impact on the ongoing projects. There are a few challenges which we discussed but I am very confident that the government will be responding to those and we can deepen the impact. So all in all and is a very successful visit.”

However, while speaking on the issue of counterpart funding from the States, and he said the States need to do more in that regard.

He further said, “A number of States have not been making their contributions but recently as we saw in Enugu State, VCDP as we saw with Benue State, the new governors have really stepped up and put up their counterpart funding, it shows their commitment and ownership. With the new federal and state governments there is a big change in counterpart funding and commitment, which the projects can accelerate, and that is really important in the context of food emergency. We need results now and not later. So accelerating the impact of the projects should be very good with the increase counterpart funds that are supporting that process.”Also, the Country Director, IFAD, Dede Ekoue, maintained that the projects of the Nigerian government and IFAD have strong performance on the ground including the Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprise Project for the Niger Delta, LIFE-ND, and the Value Chain Development Programme, VCDP, which the results are enormous.  

 “The projects of the Federal Government of Nigeria and IFAD that is LIFE-ND, and VCDP have strong performance on the ground around several parameters so productivity, production, income all of them have improved significantly on the ground and that is very important. We have strong commitment to the local communities, farmer groups, their involvement is important, and as we are seeing increasing ownership also from the State governments.  These programmes have successful strategies to strengthen the resilience of farmers to climate change and also work on enhancing food and nutrition security, as well as inclusion of women, youth, people with disabilities”, Ekoue said. However, she pointed out that there is need to have resilience to shocks including “climate change, economic crisis because they affect farmers, and these elements are to be taken into account in the programme but we need to continue to do more.

“We need to work to get the most out of the funding, which is ensuring that all the implementations is done more efficiently because when we invest efficiently we can drive more results.”

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