Nigeria to receive $ 210 million loan for agriculture sector

LAGOS, December 14 (Reuters)The African Development Bank (AfDB) will lend Nigeria $ 210 million to support small farmers producing strategic crops and livestock, the bank said on Tuesday.

The financing is the first loan under an AfDB program designed to reduce logistics costs. The program initially targets seven states in Nigeria before expanding to 17 other African countries, the AfDB said.

“The project will support Nigeria’s efforts to increase agricultural productivity, promote investment, create wealth and jobs and turn rural areas into corridors of economic prosperity,” the bank said in a statement.

At an investment summit in Saudi Arabia in October, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said Africa’s most populous nation has several million hectares of arable land available for agricultural areas.

Other partners, such as the Islamic Development Bank and the International Fund for Agricultural Development, will co-finance the project, AfDB said.

The average Nigerian farm is 1.8 hectares, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and the country depends on imports to feed its 200 million people.

Many work the fields by hand on farms that have low yields on land almost completely devoid of irrigation despite years of government attention and millions of dollars in targeted central bank loans.

(Report by MacDonald Dzirutwe edited by David Goodman)

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Lana T. Arthur