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May 29, 2024
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Food Security: Nigeria, Other African Countries Invest €100m to Support Small-scale Farmers

Four countries including Nigeria, Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger Republic have collectively invested €100 million to boost the agricultural resilience of small-scale food producers in the Sahel region.

The initiative aimed to make a lasting impact in the fight against desertification and land degradation, and landscape and watershed management through participatory planning, effectively integrating soil, water, and biodiversity.

The International Fertilizer Development Centre’s Programme Director, Bidjokazo Fofana, announced this during the pre-launch of its new initiative ‘Soil Values’ in Abuja, yesterday 

In his words: “The programme will convene various donor communities to explore avenues for additional funding, benefiting not only Sahelian countries but also the broader regional and international community.

“The €100 million budget was divided among the four countries, with Nigeria investing €40 million, and Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger Republic each investing €20 million,” Fofana added.

Explaining the choice of Nigeria for the regional launch, Fofana expressed high expectations, citing Nigeria’s productivity and potential to drive significant impact within the Soil Values program.

Fofana noted, “We expect a lot from Nigeria. Nigeria is a very productive country and a game-changer within the soil value program compared to Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger Republic.”

Also speaking, the Senior Technical Adviser IFDC, Prem Bindraban, highlighted plans to provide training to farmers to enhance their agricultural practices.

Bindraban underscored the project’s role in supporting institutional investments and facilitating the effective implementation of larger programs, such as those financed by the World Bank.

“This project will assist and support institutional investments and larger programmes such as loans given by the World Bank to be implemented effectively.

“The small-scale farmers, women, and youths would benefit from this project,” he added.

The Country Director of IFDC, Yusuf Ramani, emphasised the project’s focus on Nigeria’s northern regions.

Ramani stressed the importance of addressing gaps in the agricultural sector to align with the government’s agenda of improving food security nationwide.

Ramani stated, “The Northern parts of the country are targeted for this initiative.

“The gaps in the agricultural sector should be addressed to ensure that whatever is implemented is in line with the government’s agenda in improving food insecurity in the country.”

Meanwhile, it would be recalled that in 2023, the Food and Agriculture Organisation said no fewer than 26.5 million Nigerians may face a food crisis between June and August 2024, especially states such as Borno, Sokoto, and Zamfara, including the Federal Capital Territory, were at a bigger risk.

The FAO country representative, Dominique Kouacou, blamed persistent insecurity situations such as insurgency, banditry, and other challenges like natural resource-based conflicts, and high costs of food and agricultural inputs due to inflation for food insecurity.

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