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IFAD commits $1.5bn to Nigeria’s agric sector

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By Abraham Adekunle

Investment enhances food security and offers boost to the industry.

In a recent press briefing, Dr. Donal Brown, the Associate Vice President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) based in Rome, unveiled the organization’s substantial investment of $1.5 billion in supporting Nigeria’s agricultural sector projects. This investment demonstrates IFAD’s longstanding commitment to enhancing agricultural development and food security in Nigeria. Dr. Brown sheds light on IFAD’s extensive involvement in Nigeria. He noted that the organization’s current portfolio in the country amounts to approximately $400 million, with a commitment of about $110 million every three years. These figures underscore the depth of IFAD’s engagement and the significance of its contributions to Nigeria’s agricultural landscape.

During his engagements with Nigerian authorities, Dr. Brown expressed confidence in the present administration’s dedication to enhancing food security. He emphasized that IFAD’s objective is not only to provide immediate humanitarian assistance but also to collaborate with rural communities and smallholder farmers to improve agricultural practices and ensure long-term food security. He remarked that Nigeria was grappling with various challenges, including inflation and food-related issues. But the president’s declaration of an emergency on food security reflects a critical need, and IFAD is positioned to make a meaningful impact in addressing these challenges.

Initiatives spanning regions bring positive impact to the country.

Further, IFAD’s initiatives in Nigeria span several regions, with a focus on enhancing agricultural productivity, supporting youth entrepreneurship, and fostering climate adaptation. Dr. Brown highlighted ongoing projects in the Niger Delta region, where IFAD is actively promoting youth involvement in agriculture and bolstering resilience to climate change. IFAD is collaborating with the Nigerian government and other stakeholders to design new projects aimed at strengthening the food production value chain, particularly in northern Nigeria. This strategic partnership underscores IFAD’s commitment to addressing regional disparities and promoting inclusive agricultural growth across Nigeria.

Speaking on the performance of IFAD-supported projects, Mrs. Dede Ekoue, the IFAD Country Director, emphasized the positive impact of initiatives such as the Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprise Project for the Niger Delta (LIFE-ND)  and the Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP). These projects have not only increased productivity and income for farmers but also prioritized climate resilience and food security. Mrs. Ekoue noted that the success of these projects is evident in improved productivity, income generation, and strengthened resilience to climate change. Moreover, these initiatives prioritize inclusivity, ensuring that women, youth, and people living with disabilities are actively engaged in agricultural activities.

Focus is on partnering with rural communities.

As well, the collaboration with the Nigerian government extends beyond project implementation to policy dialogue and capacity building. The organization is actively involved in discussions regarding agricultural policy frameworks, market access for farmers, and sustainable land management practices. Over the years, IFAD has been a key player in supporting Nigeria’s agricultural sector, with a substantial investment totalling $1.5 billion. This investment has been channelled into various projects aimed at enhancing food security, improving agricultural productivity, and promoting sustainable farming practices.

Additionally, the agency’s long-standing presence in Nigeria since 1978 underscores its commitment to partnering with rural communities and smallholder farmers to address the challenges facing the agricultural sector. In addition to IFAD’s contributions, other organizations have also played a crucial role in bolstering Nigeria’s agricultural development. Collaborative efforts between IFAD, the Nigerian government, and entities like the African Development Bank (AfDB) have resulted in impactful projects such as the LIFE-ND and the VCDP. These collaborative efforts are geared towards improving the agricultural sector.

Related Article: IFAD to Digitalise Agriculture in Niger Delta

These initiatives have not only led to increased agricultural productivity and income for farmers but have also prioritized climate resilience and inclusive growth, benefiting women, youth, and marginalized groups within the agricultural sector. Looking ahead, IFAD remains committed to deepening its impact in Nigeria’s agricultural sector through innovative projects, strategic partnerships, and a steadfast focus on enhancing food security and rural livelihoods. The organization’s substantial investment underscores the importance of sustained efforts to transform Nigeria’s agricultural landscape and ensure a resilient and prosperous future for farming communities across the country.

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