In its efforts to increase food production in the country, the World Bank yesterday said that an additional $150 million has been approved for FADAMA III projects in states across the federation.
This is coming as the FADAMA III projects are expected to be rounded off by 2013, and the agency has mapped out plans to extend the programme to 2015.
Speaking to newsmen in Abuja, the World Bank Team Leader, Mr. Abimbola Adobi, said that the agency has gone round the 36 States in the country to check the progress made so far and is satisfied with what is on ground.
He said: “We have been able to go round the 36 States of the federation to ascertain the progress made so far. Based on this progress made we are supporting the FADAMA III projects with an additional $150 million in order to empower farmers to increase their yield and income in the states. We would still have more farmers to carry out their projects.”
On the impact of the projects in states, Abimbola noted that the projects in states have really impacted on farmers through the evidence of farm produce and added that is the largest farmers support programme by the bank in Nigeria that has a revenue generating system that is beneficial in uplifting the living standard of participating local farmers.
The National Project Coordinator of FADAMA III, Mr. Tayo Adewumi, said that the extension of the programme is a good development to the Agricultural Transformation Agenda of the present administration and also for the entire farmers across the country.
Speaking on the sustainability of the projects, the coordinator stated that the focus was on processing and marketing of produce to farmers, extension of services, inputs support and research for farmers in states.
However, the Federal Government, yesterday, said that about 4.3 million farmers would benefit from the 2012 fertiliser distribution in the country.
About 500,000 metric tonnes of assorted seeds and fertilisers are to be disbursed to farmers according to regions; Northern states - 14,800mt and Southern states - 12,000mt. The distribution is as follows: cotton,730mt; 40kg of rice; 40kg of maize; and 3.6 m high pods of cocoa to all 16 cocoa producing states.
The government also indicated that the interest rate to farmers has been reduced to seven per cent, from the initial 15 per cent through an agro-dealer network which farmers would be provided with to bring about Growth Enhancement Support (GES) of 50 per cent.