The World Bank Group and the French Development Agency have thrown their weight in supporting the development of rural communities and modernization of agriculture in Adamawa, Enugu, Osun and Niger states to the tune of US$230 million about N37.4 billion.
An online statement sent by Bamidele Oladokun of the World Bank Group and sighted by NaijaAgroNet said the bank is contributing $170 million while the French Development Agency is contributing $60 million under the Second Rural Access and Mobility Project.
World Bank Director in Nigeria, Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly was quoted in the statement as saying, “agriculture remains the backbone of Nigeria’s rural economy and growth in the non-oil sector which can be accelerated by improving roads that are vital to increase agriculture productivity, access to health as well as education for rural communities.”
It also quoted Task Team Leader and World Bank Senior Infrastructure Economist, Mohammed Dalil Essakali, as saying that “the sooner these rural communities are provided with transport access under the project, the higher the chances that they will see real improvement in their access to social services and to opportunities to market their agriculture products, and hence increase their income.”
The release read: “Building on the experience from the First Rural Access and Mobility Project (RAMP-1), that is rehabilitating more than 420 kilometers of rural roads and 130 river crossings in Kaduna State, the Second Rural Access and Mobility Project (RAMP-2) launched in Abuja will support rehabilitation, upgrading and maintenance of about 1,450 kilometers of rural roads and building 65 river crossings.
The statement added that innovative community-based road maintenance schemes will involve local population in the design and operation of maintenance works, thus creating employment opportunities for men and women living along the roads to be rehabilitated.
*With additional report from BusinessDay
pix: Minister of Agriculture and Rural Dev Dr. Akinwumi Adesina