ARISE NEWS: Nigeria Forges Partnership With IITA, World Bank Over Agricultural Innovation

Country: Nigeria
ARISE NEWS: Nigeria Forges Partnership With IITA, World Bank Over Agricultural Innovation
24 May 2024

The Federal Government of Nigeria, the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), and the World Bank have forged a robust partnership aimed at implementing innovative agricultural practices to tackle food insecurity not only in Nigeria but also across the broader sub-Saharan African region. This collaboration was formalized during a high-level meeting between Vice President Kashim Shettima and a delegation from IITA, World Bank, and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) at the State House in Abuja. Emphasizing the imperative of enhancing agricultural productivity, Vice President Shettima highlighted the pivotal role of IITA in advancing smart agriculture, climate-resilient practices, and the development of improved seedlings. He underscored the urgent need for such interventions, especially considering Nigeria's projected population growth, and underscored the intertwined challenges of desertification, climate change, and insecurity, particularly in the Sahel region. Shettima called for intensified collaboration with IITA, stressing the importance of treating agriculture as a viable business venture.

Specifically, he sought IITA's assistance in providing high-quality seeds for crops like maize and cassava, applauding the institute's successful initiatives in promoting improved cassava seedlings in the Southwest region and urging for their expansion across sub-Saharan Africa. In response, IITA's Director General, Dr. Simeon Ehui, expressed gratitude for the Vice President's leadership and reiterated the institute's commitment to supporting the Federal Government's agricultural development agenda. Deputy Director General, Dr. Dashiell Kenton, highlighted IITA's support for government initiatives, such as the 'Youth in Agribusiness' program, aimed at creating employment opportunities for young Nigerians in the agricultural sector. World Bank Practice Manager for Agriculture and Food Global Practice, Mr. Abel Lufafa, praised the Nigerian government's dedication to revitalizing agricultural productivity and underscored the significance of the shift towards government-led collaborations in the sector. Similarly, Channing Arndt from the International Food Policy Research Institute affirmed the organization's broad partnership with IITA, emphasizing its focus on enhancing agricultural practices to rapidly boost food production.

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