LAGOS — The World Bank, yesterday, said it has approved credit facilities of $300 million for Nigeria to boost farming output and food security.
A $200 million loan will go to small-holder farmers organised in clusters in six of the country’s 36 states for producers of rice, cassava, sorghum and other staples, the World Bank said.
Another $100 million will be used to improve crop yields, promote market access and better management.
Nigeria is the world’s second-largest importer of rice and sub-Saharan Africa’s biggest wheat and sugar buyer. President Goodluck Jonathan’s government plans to stop rice imports, now costing 1 billion naira a day ($6.2 million), by 2015.
Agriculture Minister, Akinwunmi Adesina had a couple of month ago, stated that the country was expecting $1 billion in support from the World Bank, with $500 in agriculture and $500 for expanding the country’s irrigation capacity.
Nigeria attracted agricultural investment worth more than $8 billion in the past 18 months, Adesina said on June 13. Still, only 40 per cent of its 21 million hectares (51.9 million acres) of arable land is cultivated.
Agriculture employs 70 percent of Nigeria’s population, Marie-Francoise Marie-Nelly, the World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, said in the statement.
The credit will be provided under the International Development Association’s terms for helping poor countries, according to the statement. As of 2010, more than 60 per cent of the West African country’s population of more than 160 million people lived on less than $1 a day, up from 51.6 per cent in 2004, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.