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World Bank approves $700m for Nigeria’s agro-climate resilience

Victor Uzoho

The World Bank has approved a $700 million credit from its International Development Association (IDA) for Nigeria’s Agro-Climatic Resilience in Semi-Arid Landscapes (ACReSAL) project.

The ACReSAL project is a six-year strategic project aimed at improving the country’s capacity to adapt to a changing climate, to improve its agricultural ecosystem.

The project is positioned to upscale the implementation of sustainable landscape management practices in Nigeria, particularly in the North; to strengthen the enabling environment for integrated climate-resilient landscape management.

Resource shortages, violent conflict, out-dated agricultural systems not adapted to changing dry land conditions, lack of access to finance, weak value chain linkages, an uncompetitive environment for agribusiness, and poor market access are other key barriers to increased agricultural productivity in Nigeria.

The World Bank in a statement last week, attributed the declining agricultural productivity levels in Nigeria to climate change, water loss and desertification.

It said: “Resource shortages, violent conflict, out-dated agricultural systems not adapted to changing dry land conditions, lack of access to finance, weak value chain linkages, an uncompetitive environment for agribusiness, and poor market access are other key barriers to increased agricultural productivity in Nigeria.

“Better environmental and water resources management and resilience against disaster and climate risks (largely water-related) are needed to sustain economic growth and protect the most vulnerable.”

Speaking on the development, the Bank’s Country Director for Nigeria, Shubham Chaudhuri, said the conditions do not only “threaten food security, livelihoods, and productivity, but also exacerbates fragility and increases the risk of violence.”

Also, he said the intervention was timely, as it would combat the environmental challenges, and benefit about 3.4 million people.

“With communities and households that are most dependent on natural resources for their survival and vulnerable to desertification, this intervention will improve multi-sectoral watershed planning and investments to help about 3.4 million direct beneficiaries adapt to evolving dry land conditions,” he added.

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