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World Bank, IITA partner Nigeria to boost food production

By George George Idowu

Nigerian Government, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), and World Bank have committed to a strategic partnership aimed at addressing food insecurity through innovative agricultural practices.

This collaboration was solidified during a high-level meeting between Vice President Kashim Shettima and a delegation from the IITA, World Bank, and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) at the Presidential Villa on Wednesday.

Shettima emphasized the partnership’s focus on increasing agricultural yields, highlighting IITA’s critical role in supporting not only Nigeria but also sub-Saharan Africa through smart agriculture, climate-resilient farming, and the distribution of improved seedlings.

“The IITA is in a prime position to assist Nigeria and sub-Saharan Africa in repositioning the agriculture ecosystem through smart agriculture, climate-resilient agriculture, and improved seedlings,” he stated.

He underscored the significant contributions of the IITA, established in 1967, in transforming Nigeria’s agricultural landscape.

He stressed the urgent need for innovative agricultural practices as Nigeria is projected to become the third most populous nation by 2050.

The vice president also highlighted the intricate link between the economy and ecology, exacerbated by desertification, climate change, and insecurity challenges in the Sahel region.

“In the nation’s food basket, there is a complex relationship between the economy and ecology due to desertification and climate change. Our agricultural productivity is poor, compounded by insecurity, likely connected to the challenges in the Sahel,” he explained.

Shettima called for close collaboration with the IITA and emphasized the importance of viewing agriculture as a business.

He specifically requested the institute’s support in providing high-quality seeds for maize and root crops, particularly cassava.

He praised the widespread adoption of IITA’s improved cassava seedlings in the Southwest region and urged the institute to extend similar initiatives to other sub-Saharan African nations.

Dr. Simeon Ehui, Director General of the IITA, thanked the vice president for his leadership and support for agricultural development in Nigeria.

He noted that the delegation was in Abuja for a strategic meeting to review IITA’s partnerships and stakeholder engagements to bolster food security efforts in Nigeria and West Africa.

Dr. Dashiell Kenton, Deputy Director General, Partnerships for Delivery at IITA, highlighted the institute’s initiatives aimed at creating employment opportunities for young Nigerians in the agricultural sector.

Mr. Abel Lufafa, World Bank Practice Manager for Agriculture and Food Global Practice, expressed satisfaction with the Tinubu administration’s dedication to improving agricultural productivity.

He commended the government-led collaboration for its positive impact on the sector.

This new alliance between the Nigerian Government, IITA, and World Bank marks a significant step forward in addressing food insecurity and promoting sustainable agricultural practices in the region.


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