The federal government and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) have agreed to strengthen collaboration to support rural farmers with funding to ensure food sufficiency.
A statement signed by the special adviser on media to the Minister of State for Agriculture, Mr. George Orji, Lokpobiri disclosed to the visiting director that besides feeding its rapidly growing people, the country ensured that all the value chain support by IFAD also trickles down to its West African neighbours, noting that if Nigeria is unable to support the West African region, and in fact Africa the consequences would be very catastrophic.
While describing the value being added to the nation’s agricultural sector by IFAD as very significant, the minister pledged that the Nigerian government would give priority to its partnership with the fund and would do what is necessary for the partnership to flourish.
“As a government, what we have decided to do is to say we will give priority to our partnership, whatever that is needed to be done on the part of the government, we would endeavour to do,” the minister assured.
According to him, “Whatever we do here essentially feeds the whole of West Africa. The seeds that we produce here essentially service the whole of West Africa, the grains that we produce here services the whole of West Africa. Whatever happens here affects the whole of West Africa. So, whatever support that you are giving to Nigeria is essentially the support given to the whole of West Africa.
The minister further disclosed that with the support of IFAD, the government has not only been able to increase food sufficiency and create jobs for the teeming youths, but made many millionaires from the farmers.
Responding, the visiting Director who came in company of the country representative of IFAD to Nigeria, Nadine Gbossa, informed Lokpobiri that IFAD was already strategising on how to expand its Nigerian office, not only in terms of increasing their support but also increasing their ability to provide more technical guidance for the implementation of its projects in the country.
“We are working with our team to bring additional staff to Nigeria because this is clearly a country that is almost like a continent where we realise that the capacity we have at the moment is not sufficient,” Martin said.
Reacting to the request by the minister for additional funding, the director disclosed that one of the key elements of the fund’s formula is that the resources a country gets is linked to further disbursement, noting that, “So, the faster you use the money, the more money you get, which is a common sense principle