THE president of the (AfDB) President, Dr Akinwumi Adesina on Tuesday said the support offered Nigeria by the bank would result in the production of 9.5 million metric tons of food.
Adesina said this when he visited President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The former minister of agriculture said in the wet season of 2022, at least five million smallholder farmers would be helped to cultivate one million hectares of maize, one million hectares of rice, and 250,000 hectares of sorghum and soybeans.
“In total, our support will help Nigeria produce 9.5 million metric tons of food.”
States that will benefit from the assistance include Kano, Ogun, Oyo, Kaduna, Imo, Cross River, and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Akinwunmi had briefed him on steps being taken by the bank to avert food crisis in Africa in the foreseeable future.
Adesina had told him that the Russia-Ukraine war would create global problems, and particularly for Africa, which imports a huge percentage of its food from the two countries.
“Already, the price of wheat has gone up about 60 per cent. Maize and other grains will also be affected. There may be fertiliser crisis, as there would be about two million metric tonnes deficit. And that will affect food production by about 20 per cent.
“Africa will lose $11 billion worth of food, and coming shortly after COVID-19, that would be rather serious,” the AfDB president disclosed.
To prepare against the evil day, Dr Adesina said the AfDB had developed a $1.5 billion Africa Emergency Food Plan, which is now before the bank’s board for approval.
He added: “We were not ready for COVID-19, but we are now planning to avert food crisis on the continent. There is plan to help farmers cultivate wheat, maize, rice, sorghum, and soybeans. It will mitigate the impact of the Russia-Ukraine war.”
President Buhari justified the closure of Nigerian borders saying that progress was made through the action.
This he said was to encourage local food production. The president had ordered the closure of the country’s land borders in August 2019 to crack down on smuggling.
Four of the borders were reopened in 2020, including the Seme border in SouthWest, Maigatari and Ilela borders in North-West and Mfun borders in SouthSouth.
Four more were ordered reopened by the president last week, including Idiroko in Ogun, Jibiya in Katsina, Kamba in Kebbi and Ikom in Cross River
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