World Bank to boost Nigeria’s commercial agric project
World Bank Country Director, Mr. Onno Ruhl, said yesterday in a goodwill message delivered at the Commercial Agriculture Development Project’s fourth bimonthly progress review meeting in Kano that the Bank was ready to assist Nigeria in making commercial agriculture a reality, adding that fast disbursement of funds to beneficiaries would be balanced with quality work for better results.
Ruhl said the World Bank expected the Commercial Agriculture Development Project to not only safeguard food security in the country, but also “replace food importation with food exportation.” He commended the CADP team for the keen determination and competiveness with which participating states were implementing the project, adding that among the 28 projects supported by the World Bank only CADP was holding rotational implementation and supervision review meetings in the participating states.
Task Team Leader of the project, Lucas Akapa, expressed satisfaction with progress made by the five participating states in terms of laying a solid foundation for effective implementation of the project. He enjoined the participating states to hasten implementation and deliver result to the beneficiaries.
National Project Coordinator of CADP, Aminu Babandi said the rotational bimonthly meetings were aimed at taking stock of progress on the project in the implementing states, sharing experiences and developing action plans.
Opening the bimonthly meeting, the Kano State Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Alhaij Musa Sulaiman Shanono told the gathering that the commercialisation of agriculture had the potential to create wealth, enhance employment opportunities and provide raw materials to agro-allied industries for sustainable development.
“As a major employer of labour and source of income generation to the populace of the state, agriculture has been given top priority by the Kano State government and that is why the state expended over N20 billion on agriculture from 2003 to 2009”, Shanono told the participants.
The commissioner appealed to development partners to continue to show favourable disposition and extend support and technical assistance for sustainable food security and poverty reduction in the country.
The $150 million Commercial Agriculture Development Project is being implemented in Kano, Kaduna, Lagos, Cross River and Enugu states.
The meeting in Kano was attended by World Bank officials and staff of the Commercial Agriculture Development Projects in the participating states and the national coordinating office.