The African Development Bank, AfDB, said it has invested N14.78 billion (N2.91 trillion) in the agriculture sector of its Regional Member Countries (RMC) in 46 years to grow their economy.
Chiji Ojukwu, the Director of Agriculture and Agro-Industry Department of the bank, stated this in a statement published on the bank’s official website.
In the statement, retrieved by the News Agency of Nigeria on Sunday in Lagos, the director said that between 1968 and 2014, the bank group approved 876 operations.
These operations had commitments valued at approximately $14.78 billion that provide support to agriculture and rural development.
“Between 2010 and 2014, about 230,000 kilometres of feeder roads were constructed and/or rehabilitated and 563,000 people benefited from improved access to transport.
“About 1.5 million people had access to improved technology and some 600 production and marketing facilities were constructed.
“In terms of natural resource management, more than 0.8 million hectares of land have been improved through replantation/reforestation, benefiting about 19 million people, 45 per cent of whom were women,’’ Mr. Ojukwu said.
According to him, one of the stand-out projects in agricultural infrastructure includes the Uganda Community Agricultural Infrastructure Improvement Programme that won the U.S. Treasury Honours for Development Impact in 2013.
“The Bank has also supported the resilience building projects including its Drought Resilience and Livelihoods Support Programmes in the Horn of Africa and the Sahel.
“Going forward, there is need for multi-sector investments in agriculture using an integrated value chain approach for the bank to contribute to unlock the potential of agriculture for sustained and inclusive growth in Africa.
“This implies greater attention to both horizontal and vertical integration in all relevant value chains.
“This includes addressing constraints and opportunities faced by farmers and producers; strengthening the delivery of business and financial services and enabling the flow of information.
“Other opportunities are facilitating improved markets and agro-processing infrastructures as well as improving farmers’ skills and linkages to markets,” Mr. Ojukwu said.
He noted that the bank’s new agricultural strategy under processing (2015-2019) would continue to focus on investments in agricultural infrastructure, resilience building and natural resources management.
This would be in addition to a new pillar focusing on agribusiness and innovation.
On the bank’s level of support to RMCs to meet the goal of the 2010-2014 Agriculture Sector Strategy, Mr. Ojukwu said the bank’s group operations met or exceeded 75 per cent of its targets.
“This is for activities pertaining to its promoting agriculture infrastructure development and increasing resilience and natural resource management,” he said.