Hunger: AfDB supports Nigeria with $134m to cultivate rice, maize, cassava, soyabeans

The African Development Bank (AfDB) says it is supporting Nigeria with $134 million for the cultivation of rice, maize, cassava and soybeans to boost food production.

Akinwumi Adesina, president of the AfDB, disclosed this on Saturday after visiting the Centre for Dryland Agriculture (CDA) at Bayero University, Kano.

Adesina said the bank would support Nigeria in cultivating 300,000 hectares of rice and maize, 150,000 hectares of cassava and 50,000 hectares of soybeans during the 2024 planting season.

“This March, the AfDB is supporting Nigeria to cultivate 118,000 hectares of heat-tolerant varieties of wheat and another 150,000 hectares of maize,” Adesina said.

“We live in an era of climate change and yet only 3 percent of African agriculture is under irrigation. We have to make sure we help our farmers with information that is timely and appropriate.

“We have no alternative but to adapt to climate change; adopt better ways of using water, particularly in the cultivation of dry land crops that are more resilient and tolerant.”

The economist said the AfDB would provide grants for the CDA and collaborate with it to become a centre used for the prediction of weather patterns and the gathering of information that would make farmers plan better.

“We will work with the centre to become one of the centres of excellence in technology,” he said.

“We will also support youths to develop their business ideas into reality with our 20,000-dollar grant on `Agri Pitch’ and `Agri Hacking’.”

Adesina commended Sagir Adamu-Abbas, the vice-chancellor of Bayero University, and Jibrin Mohammed-Jibrin, director of CDA, for assisting farmers with access to technology in the face of climate change.

In his remarks, Mohammed-Jibrin said the CDA is renowned for its research and teaching in development initiatives, focusing on dry land agriculture.

“The centre is dedicated to improving livelihoods, resilience and sustainable use of natural resources in African drylands through training and demand-driven research,” he said.

He said the CDA had received several World Bank grants for research and had so far enrolled about 1,153 doctorate and masters’ degree students and trained farmers in agro-ecological practices.

CDA is a World Bank-supported centre established to serve as a regional training hub for the West and Central African sub-regions.