The Minister of Agriculture, Alhaji Muhammed Nanono has commended the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) for a $360 million grant towards agricultural development, stressing that 250,000 smallholders farmers in Nigeria would benefit from the fund.
Nanono also stated that the collaboration and partnership arising from international development/donor cooperation have indeed yielded positive result in the development of Nigeria’s agricultural sector.
The Minister was speaking on Tuesday in his office at the inauguration ceremony of the combined National Steering Committee and Review/Approval of 2021 Annual Work Plan and budget for three IFAD – assisted projects.
He said IFAD’s assistance action was aligned with the agricultural priorities and mandate of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Nanono added that utilisation of the funds was focused and implemented in rural communities accross the country.
He said that this directly targeted over 250,000 vulnerable smallholder farmers.
The Minister urged members of the steering committees to work hard in view of the success of IFAD’s intervention framework.
Nanono told them to consider and approve the Annual Work Plan and Budget for 2021;
review and assess progress made in project implementation; and provide policy advisory and general oversight to the programmes.
He further urged them to foster and create a forum for cooperation among projects with relevant activities of geographical coverage in agriculture and agribusiness development
Nanono emphasised that nothing could be more important to Nigeria’s future than the task assigned to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development which the Steering Committee must deliver.
Speaking earlier the Permanent Secretary Dr. Earnest Umakhihe, expressed delight that the IFAD funded projects were enhancing incomes.
Umakhihe added that the projects were creating jobs and improving the welfare and livelihood of vulnerable smallholder farmers, especially women and youths, on a sustainable basis.
He said that through the IFAD support projects, agricultural inputs were currently procured and distributed to about 30,000 vulnerable farmers across the country for wet and dry seasons farming.
Umakhihe also reiterated the commitment of the Ministry to continue supporting the projects at all times.
Membership of the National Steering Committee is drawn from various ministries, agencies as well as international development and donor agencies.
About the project: Evidence from projects reports and independent assessments have revealed that IFAD supported projects have contributed immensely to the development of agriculture in four key areas.
These include the provision of food security, job creation, import-substitution, and economic diversification.