Scaling agriculture as development and diversification strategy for the North West region of Nigeria

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From Left Governor Tambuwal of Sokoto, Masari of Katsina, Ganduje of Kano, Ousmane Dore of AfDB, Badaru of Jigawa, El-Rufai of Kaduna and Deputy Governor of Zamfara State

In recognition of its ongoing effort to transform agriculture from subsistence to agribusiness, the African Development Bank was invited by the leadership of Nigeria’s North-West Region to review the Agricultural Development Strategy for the region and give an overview of AfDB’s ongoing and upcoming interventions in agriculture in Nigeria as they relate to the seven North-West states. The meeting held on May 16, 2016 at Kaduna Government House, was attended by five Executive Governors (Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Jigawa and Sokoto), two deputies Governors (Kebbi and Zamfara), as well as representatives of financial institutions, including the Bank of Agriculture, Bank of Industry, Central Bank of Nigeria, NIRSAL, NEXIM Bank and Sasakwawa Global 2000.

In line with the agenda of the meeting, AfDB Country Director Ousmane Dore outlined the Agricultural Transformation Agenda Support Program (ATASP-I) of US $175 million as the main instrument for consolidating Bank investments in Nigeria agricultural sector. Under this program, the Bank established four Staple Crops Processing Zones (SCPZs), which cover four out of the seven North-West states (Kebbi, Sokoto, Kano and Jigawa). The Director also outlined two upcoming projects totaling US $500 million; the ENABLE (Empowering Novel Agri-Business-Led Employment) Youth Program (US $300 million) and Phase II of the ATASP (US $200 million).

The forum recognized that the Bank has been providing financial support to SMSE through lines of credit to several commercial banks as well as through the policy banks (BOI and NEXIM), including the support for the establishment of the Development Bank of Nigeria (US $500 million). The Bank’s technical assistance to the Bank of Agriculture through grants was also highly appreciated. In conclusion, the Executive Governors expressed gratitude to the Bank and its President for supporting the region and look forward to working with the Bank to finalize and operationalize their agriculture strategy.