The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) has approved an African Development Fund (ADF) loan of $ 152.12 million, about N24 billion and an ADF grant of $ 0.38 million, about N60 million, to finance Nigeria's Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) Support Programme Phase 1 (ATASP-1).
This approval was made known in a report issued by the bank and sighted by NaijaAgroNet which stated that ATASP-1 was to promote employment generation and shared wealth creation along the commodity value chains, food and nutrition security and sustainably increase the income of smallholder farmers and rural entrepreneurs engaged in the production, processing, storage and marketing of the selected commodity value chains.
According to AfDB estimates, Nigeria has a huge potential in agriculture with 84 million hectares of arable land, abundant labour, untapped water resources and a market of 167 million people.
Reports from the bank funded projects indicate that ATASP-1 is mainly an infrastructure restoration intervention that will rehabilitate 1,300 kms of irrigation water conveyance canals; 39,777 ha of existing crop production schemes; 1,330 kms of feeder roads; 1,007 units of hydraulic structures; 14 community markets; 35 primary schools; and 14 community health centres.
It will also provide 63 potable water and sanitation systems and establish seven technology demonstration centres in four Staple Crops Processing Zones in seven States covering 194,426 km2 of land and 32,121,944 inhabitants (50.93 per cent males and 49.07 per cent females) who are predominantly farmers and small scale commodity processors.
NaijaAgroNet recorded that the program, to be implemented in five years is estimated at $ 175 million ( about N27 billion) as the Bank's financing will account for 87.0 per cent of the overall costs, federal government and seven States located in the four Processing Zones will contribute 12.2 per cent, while the beneficiaries will contribute 0.6 per cent of total program costs.
Anthony Nwakaegho/Remmy Nweke
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