Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh, has said the World Bank will support FADAMA III Project in the country with $200 million.
Ogbeh made this known on Friday at the official launching of FADAMA III Additional Financing Cassava Intervention Project in Awa Iman in Onna Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.
Represented by Peter Ajibade, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture, the minister said the bank would support the project with the $200 million fund injection for four value chains of cassava, rice, tomato and sorghum.
He added: “The Federal Government approached the bank for support and $200 million credit was approved to support four value chains of cassava, rice, tomato and sorghum for six core states.
“We all know what is happening to our oil and the need to provide food for our teeming population.
“This decision was taken to open up the projects to other states that have potential in these value chains.”
Ogbeh explained that more value chains would help to realise the objectives of providing food for the country, noting: “It is desired that this country will not only feed itself, but will export to neighbouring nations.”
Tayo Adewunmi, the National Project Coordinator, FADAMA III Additional Financing Project, said: “This project is a game changer in agriculture development.
“This is because rather than the old system of subsistence agriculture or even supporting individual small holder farmers, additional financing is looking at the totality of agricultural commodity value chain.
“We are also looking at the issue of clusterisation of farmers.
“We currently look at agriculture as a business and that is why the funding instrument in Additional Financing has gone from local development to business plan.
“Right now, farmers are being given head start in agricultural business; they have the capacity to negotiate market and determine what prices their commodities will go for at the end of the day.
“It is no longer a situation where somebody who has big money out there will come and buy off these farmers and at the end of the day, they become losers.”
Adewunmi explained that the FADAMA III Additional Financing was initially meant for six states and Akwa Ibom was the seventh state to join.
He said: “I want to let you know that Akwa Ibom is one of the earliest states to come on board among the new entrants into the Additional Financing when the door was opened.”
He commended the Akwa Ibom State Government for paying its counterpart fund for the project and described Governor Udom Emmanuel as “a friend of the farmer.
“You can have as much as you can from the big bowl of money that is there for farmers.”
Adewunmi advised the governor to encourage the people to take agricultural business seriously in the state, noting that many commodities had been packaged and many exported through FADAMA III project.
Emmanuel, who launched the project, appreciated the organisers for launching the FADAMA III Addition Financing Cassava Intervention Project in his village, Awa Iman in Onna Local Government Area.
He said the inauguration of the project was a show of commitment that the state government embraced agriculture as viable and guaranteed means of diversifying the economy of the state.