The World Bank's Board of Executive Directors yesterday approved a $495.3 million-credit to improve farmers' access to irrigation and drainage services in the country.
The intervention under the International Development Association (IDA) would also help to strengthen institutional arrangements for integrated water resources management and improve delivery of agricultural services in selected, large-scale public schemes in northern Nigeria.
The Transforming Irrigation Management in Nigeria (TRIMING) project is expected to improve existing irrigation on 27,000 hectares, irrigate an additional 23,000 hectares, and benefit more than 140,000 farmers while mobilising private sector investment.
According to the Breton Woods institution, the latest effort marked a transformational effort to improve large-scale public irrigation for expanding food production and catalysing economic growth in rural areas necessary to end poverty and boost prosperity, as well as enhance resilience of agriculture production systems.
World Bank acting Vice President for the Africa Region, Jamal Saghir said:"Unlocking Africa's development potential requires interventions in key sectors such as energy and water. By taking a comprehensive approach, the TRIMING project will increase farm productivity, build climate resilience, reduce flooding risks and improve the lives and well-being of millions of Nigerian citizens in Africa's largest economy."
Agriculture is a key sector of the Nigerian economy accounting for 22 per cent of gross domestic product in 2012. The Government of Nigeria's Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) is a major initiative to drive rural income growth, accelerate achievement of food and nutritional security, and generate employment.
World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly said: "Given Nigeria's determination to diversify and integrate its national economy to benefit all Nigerians, this project will help to advance this ambition in three vital ways, by restoring agricultural productivity, creating job opportunities for a large number of unskilled young people, as well as creating conditions for growth and peace in northern Nigeria.'