• Wednesday, July 17, 2024
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Nigeria forms partnership with World Bank, IITA to boost agric innovation

Of cannon fodders in Rivers and playing ping-pong with monarchs

. Aims to address food insecurity

As part of its initiative to boost Nigeria’s agric innovation, the federal government has forged a partnership with the World Bank and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA).

Kashim Shettima, Vice President of Nigeria made this partnership with delegates of the World Bank, IITA, and the International Food Policy Research Institute at a meeting in the presidential villa in Abuja on Wednesday.

Read also: Nigeria’s $2.25bn World Bank loan expected June

Shettima said the point of the partnership is to increase yield, and IITA is in a position to assist not just Nigeria but sub-Saharan Africa in repositioning the agric sector, through better agricultural practices, climate-resilient crops and improved seedlings.

In a post on X, released by Stanley Nkwocha, media assistant to the vice president, Shettima noted the significant role of the IITA, a non-profit institution that has continued to generate agricultural innovation since 1967.

“More than ever before, we need the IITA now. By 2050, we will be the third most populous nation on earth,” he said.

He went further to add that the interconnectedness between the economy and ecology, exacerbated the desertification, climate change, and insecurity challenges in the Sahel region.

“In the food basket of the nation, there is an incestuous relationship between economy and ecology because of desertification and climate change. The productivity of our agriculture is poor, and is compounded by insecurity, which might not be unconnected with the challenges in the Sahel,” Shettima stated.

He also called for collaboration with the IITA, and other bodies, emphasising the importance of investing in agriculture as a business.

Specifically, he asked for the IITA’s assistance in providing high-quality seeds for maize and root crops, particularly cassava. He applauded the adoption of the institution’s seedlings in the Southwest, urging the institute to extend similar initiatives to other sub-Saharan African nations.

Also present was Simeon Ehui, director general of the IITA, who thanked the vice president for his commitment and leadership to the agric sector.

Ehui noted that the IITA’s collaboration with Nigeria aims to address food security in the country and across West Africa.

According to Dashiell Kenton, deputy director general of the IITA, the collaboration of the IITA with Nigeria aims to create employment opportunities for young Nigerians in the agric sector.

Read also: Climate crisis may drive 44 million people into extreme poverty by 2030 — World Bank

He added that “Youths in Agribusiness”, an initiative by the Bola Ahmed Tinubu-led administration, will be empowered with knowledge on improved agricultural practices through the institute.

Abel Lufafa, practice manager for the World Bank, who was also present at the meeting, said the World Bank, IITA and other partners were excited with the level of interest and support deployed by the federal government in boosting agricultural productivity in the country.