Dutse, Feb. 7, 2024: The African Development Bank (AfDB) has expressed its readiness to provide a 60 million dollars facility to Jigawa Government for the expansion of wheat cultivation in the state.
Dr Martin Fregene, Director of Agriculture and Agro Industry, AfDB, disclosed this when an AfDB delegation paid a courtesy visit to Gov. Umar Namadi at his office in Dutse.
Fregene, who expressed happiness over the rapid achievements of Namadi within few months in office, especially on agriculture, said that the bank would partner with the state to revolutionise agriculture in the North-West.
He, however, suggested that Jigawa should prepare to go for 100,000 hectares in the next dry season and 250,000 hectares the following season, against the current 40,000 hectares being cultivated.
Fregene said that the bank would accompany Jigawa all the way to achieve irrigation activities; thereby, increasing access to water in the land, improving growers’ skills, employing more youth and creating more value to wheat growers.
On his part, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, AfBD’s President announced the AfDB’s commitment to transform agriculture for the betterment of everybody in Africa.
Adesina, represented by Mr Olalekun Williams, Special Envoy to the AfDB’s President, recalled that in January 2023, 34 Heads of Government in Africa met in Dakar, Senegal, to discuss how Africa could feed itself.
“Nearly all African countries import food that can be grown in Africa and the amount of foreign exchange used to import food can be diverted to improve our agriculture.
“So, the main objective of the Feed Africa Initiative is to enable Africa to feed itself; and to feed itself in such a way that is efficient, sustainable and is competitive.
“In that sense Nigeria as a member country developed what is called Nigeria Country Food and Agriculture Delivery Compact.’’
He said each country that was represented in Dakar prepared its country compact in order to meet its food security targets.
Adesina said that the compact focused on five important staples in each country, adding they should be produce to substitute for import.
“The staples selected by Nigeria are wheat, rice, maize, cassava and animal husbandry.’’
The AfDB’s president, however, expressed happiness about the ongoing agricultural revolution taking place in Jigawa.
He said that if Jigawa was contributing about 40 per cent of the nation’s wheat production in 2024, it meant Jigawa would be in the forefront of contributing to the Nigeria Food Agriculture Delivery Compact.
“We will like to use Jigawa as a demonstration to what is possible in Nigeria with purposeful leadership and support from the government to the teeming farmers as clearly seen.
“The essence of the compact is to mobilise political, financial and technical support for the five staples,” he explained.
Adesina said that if Jigawa could demonstrate that wheat was growable in Nigeria, then the bank could extend the same model to other crops like rice and maize which were seriously needed in the country.
Responding, Namadi thanked the management of AfDB for its intervention programme in many areas of development in Africa, especially on agriculture pertaining initiating programmes geared toward addressing food crisis in the continent.
The governor commended the bank for its laudable food initiative programme under leadership of Adesina.
He described Adesina as a premium Nigerian whose quality of leadership was exemplary, adding that the people and government of Jigawa would not betray their trust in the new partnership.
Namadi noted that apart from the Nigeria’s green revolution programme in the 80s, there was never a food solving problem like the one introduced by Adesina when he was a minister then on rice revolution programme.
The governor said that most of the developmental projects coming up on agriculture were as a result of the Adesina’s legacy of rice revolution.
He reassured the delegate that the state government was totally committed to harnessing the potential of agriculture in the state.