Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina, President of African Development Bank (AfDB) Group, has pledged his commitment, through his outfit, to support the Nigerian government to address food insecurity in the economy.
According to Dr. Adesina, AfDB’s strategic support for Nigeria’s food production will hinge on five factors: support, scale, systemic, speed, and sustainability.
“I [Dr. Adesina] want to assure President Buhari that the African Development Bank will provide his government with very strong support to tackle the country’s food security challenges.
“Inflation in Nigeria is high, at 16% or more. Of course, the biggest share of the consumer price index is the price of food, at almost 65%. So, if we can drive down the price of food, of course, we can drive down inflation.”Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina
AfDB’s President made this pledge during a meeting with a high-level Nigerian delegation led by the country’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar.
As disclosed by the Bank, Dr. Adesina and Dr. Mahmood had a fruitful discussion on exploring strategic avenues of tackling rising concerns about Nigeria’s food security issues.
Dr. Adesina urged Dr. Mahmood to focus on building the correct team and tactics to optimize the country’s farming seasons.
This, Dr. Adesina revealed, will dramatically increase food output which will result in lower food prices, which will in turn lower inflation rates.
On his part, Dr. Mahmood iterated that “our [Government] mission is to examine ways Nigeria can enhance food production, lower food prices, and create wealth”.
The meeting, as the Bank stated, comes at the back of an address by AfDB’s President last week at a mid-term ministerial retreat presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Successful food insecurity rescue missions
Dr. Adesina highlighting successful food insecurity rescue programmes across the African continent, cited the case of Sudan, as he explained how the Bank has supported the country with 65,000 metric tonnes of heat-tolerant wheat varieties, cultivated on 317,000 hectares.
“It took two seasons to do this. Change will not happen in years. You will see change in seasons. Sudan now produces 1.1 million metric tons of wheat.
“The same thing happened in Ethiopia in just two seasons with the production of 184, 000 hectares of wheat.”Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina
Dr. Mahmood, after receiving the briefing from Dr. Adesina on similar successful projects, stated that, “this gives me an additional measure of confidence. If you can do it in Sudan, you can equally do it in Nigeria. Not just in wheat, but also rice, maize, and soybeans”.
Dr. Adesina iterating the Bank’s course of action, disclosed that AfDB will provide Nigeria with support through input delivery, including highly improved seeds and fertilizers to farmers, and an integrated input delivery platform.
Also, AfDB’s Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zone initiative will serve as an effective medium-term plan for revolutionizing Nigeria’s agriculture value chain, the Bank disclosed.
“The Bank stands ready to fully support and help Nigeria in the next farming seasons. So, we must make sure things turn around. The President must succeed, and Nigeria must succeed. Agriculture must succeed.”Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina
Morever, Dr. Adesina stated that “the task, responsibility, and challenge of feeding Nigeria rests on your [Dr. Mahmood] shoulders. You will receive maximum support from me [Dr. Adesina], and the African Development Bank for the responsibility that President Buhari has given you. You will not be alone”.
Dr. Mahmood welcomed the Bank’s proposed strategy and described it as a landmark, one that would spur Nigeria’s food supply production. “It will reverse the ugly trend of a sharp increase in prices of food in the country”.
“I am pleased with the Bank’s strategy to facilitate the production of 9 million metric tons of food in Nigeria, and to support us in raising self-sufficiency. The Bank’s Special Agro-Processing Zones initiative is a laudable one and Nigeria is grateful.”Dr. Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar