Written by Austine ELEMUE

Minister assures rural farmers of support

The Federal Capital Territory minister, Malam Muhammad Bello, has declared open World Bank Country Portfolio Performance Review Meeting, CPPR, for the bank’s assisted projects in the northern region with a firm commitment on agriculture and empowerment of rural farmers. 

Addressing participants in Abuja, the minister disclosed that his administration, last year, released N113 million being a backlog of counterpart funds for the commencement of the World Bank Fadama III project upon which over 3500 farmers were registered. 

His words, “This was in keeping with the agenda of the federal government, under President Muhammadu Buhari, to diversify the economy through restoring the priority place on agriculture and empowering rural farmers.”

The initiative was hinged on raving up production and developing value chains in the four selected staple crops of rice, sorghum, cassava and tomato.

The minister, who was represented at the occasion by his Chief of Staff, Malam Muhammed Mai-Borno, pledged the commitment of the FCT Administration to making funds available towards the realization of the goals of the World Bank assisted projects in the FCT. 

In a performance report, presented at the meeting, the desk officer for Community Social Development Projects, CSDP, Dr. Babagana Adams revealed that the World Bank, earmarked $6,075,258.2 towards the execution of various CSDP and Fadama III projects under the year’s project cycle. 

Bello revealed that the FCT Administration has concluded plans to release a first tranche of N50 million as its counterpart fund for the successful execution of the project envisaged in the year under review. 

In his remarks at the occasion, the World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Mr. Rachid Benmessaoud, explained that the portfolio review is a joint annual event between the World Bank and the federal government to assess the implementation performance of World Bank assisted projects in the country. 

He remarked, “the objective is to evaluate how these states are performing, what are the results that they have been achieving, what are the challenges that they are facing and what are the actions that could improve and accelerate the pace of implementation of these projects". 

 

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