Abubakar said his consultative mission to Abidjan was at the instruction of
"Our mission is to examine ways Nigeria could enhance food production, lower
food prices, and create wealth", the minister said.
Abubakar welcomed the Bank's proposed strategy and described it as a landmark
one that would spur Nigeria's food supply production. "It will reverse the ugly
trend of a sharp increase in prices of food in the country. I am pleased with
the Bank's strategy to facilitate the production of 9 million metric tons of
food in Nigeria, and to support us in raising self-sufficiency. The Bank's
Special Agro-Processing Zones initiative is a laudable one and Nigeria is
Citing successes in Sudan, Adesina explained how the African Development Bank
had supported the country with 65,000 metric tonnes of heat-tolerant wheat
varieties, cultivated on 317,000 hectares.
"It took two seasons to do this", he said. "Change will not happen in years.
You will see change in seasons. Sudan now produces 1.1 million metric tons of
wheat. The same thing happened in Ethiopia in just two seasons with the
production of 184, 000 hectares of wheat", he added.
In response to Bank successes in Sudan and Ethiopia, Abubakar said: "This gives
me an additional measure of confidence. If you can do it in Sudan, you can equally
do it in Nigeria. Not just in wheat, but also rice, maize, and soybeans".
The African Development Bank will provide Nigeria with support through input
delivery, including highly improved seeds and fertilizers to farmers, and an
integrated input delivery platform.
Extensively discussed at the meeting was the Bank's Special Agro-Industrial
Processing Zone initiative as an effective medium-term plan for revolutionizing
Nigeria's agriculture value chain.
Adesina said: "The task, responsibility, and challenge of feeding Nigeria rests
on your shoulders. You will receive maximum support from me, and the African
Development Bank for the responsibility that President Buhari has given you.
You will not be alone".
He added: "The Bank stands ready to fully support and help Nigeria in the next
farming seasons. So, we must make sure things turn around. The president must
succeed, and Nigeria must succeed. Agriculture must succeed".
Abubakar thanked the African Development Bank for its support and said the
meeting gave him reassurances of what Nigeria can achieve with the Bank's
support in the farming seasons ahead.
The minister also called for the Bank's support to recapitalize the country's
Bank of Agriculture.
Both parties set up a task force team to develop a plan for accelerated
implementation within the next 60 days.
Also at the meeting were a member of Nigeria's National Assembly, Hon. Munir
Baba Dan Agundi, Chair of the House Committee on Agricultural Colleges and
Institutions; the African Development Bank's executive director for
Nigeria, Sao Tome and Principe, Dr. Oyebode Oyetunde; Vice President of
Agriculture, Human and Social Development, Beth Dunford; Senior Special Advisor
to the President of the Bank on Industrialization, Professor Oyebanji Oyelaran;
Director-General of the Bank's Nigeria Country Office in Abuja, Lamin Barrow;
the Bank's Director of Agriculture and Agro-Industries, Martin Fregene; the
Director for Agricultural Finance and Rural Development, Atsuko Toda; and
senior officials from Nigeria's Federal Ministry of Agriculture.