THE African Development Bank (AfDB), Country Director, Dr Ousmane Dore, has disclosed that the institution has earmarked 175 million dollars for Agricultural Transformation Agenda Support Programme (ATASP-I) as instrument for consolidating the bank’s investments in Nigerian agricultural sector in its latest edition of the bank’s newsletter, issued by its Nigerian Country Office recently in Kaduna.
Dore said that in recognition of its ongoing effort to transform agriculture from subsistence to agribusiness, AfDB was invited by the leadership of Nigeria’s North-West region to review the agricultural development strategy for the region, adding that another aim of the invitation was for the bank to give an overview of its ongoing and upcoming interventions in agriculture in Nigeria as they relate to the seven North-West states.
The Country Director who said in line with the agenda of the meeting, AfDB have outlined the Agricultural Transformation Agenda Support Program (ATASP-I) of 175 million dollars as the main instrument for consolidating bank investments in Nigeria agricultural sector, noted that under the programme, the bank has established four Staple Crops Processing Zones (SCPZs), which cover four out of the seven North-West states – Kebbi, Sokoto, Kano and Jigawa.
He also outlined two upcoming projects totaling 500 million dollars, stressing that 300 million dollars was on Empowering Novel Agri-Business-Led Employment (ENABLE) Youth Programme and 200 million dollars on Phase II of the ATASP.
Dore said that the forum recognized that the bank had been providing financial support to SMSE through lines of credit to several commercial banks as well as through the policy banks like Bank of Industry and NEXIM. He also appreciated the bank’s technical assistance to the Bank of Agriculture through grants, as the governors expressed gratitude to the bank and its president for supporting the region.