Shubham Chaudhuri
Shubham Chaudhuri

The World Bank has approved $700 million from its International Development Association (IDA) for the Nigeria Agro-Climatic Resilience in Semi-Arid Landscapes (ACReSAL) Project.

The Bretton Woods institution which disclosed this in a statement, noted stated that the scheme is expected to boost Nigeria’s implementation of sustainable landscape management practices in northern Nigeria and strengthen the country’s long-term enabling environment for integrated climate-resilient landscape management.

According to the bank, due to low productivity of cash crops in Nigeria, the fund would be beneficial to deal with climate issues including water shortages in the North leading to desertification and habitat loss.

The statement said, “Resource shortages, violent conflict, outdated agricultural systems not adapted to changing dryland conditions, lack of access to finance, weak value chain linkages, an uncompetitive environment for agribusiness, and poor market access are other key barriers to increased agricultural productivity in Nigeria.

“Better environmental and water resources management and resilience against disaster and climate risks (largely water-related) are needed to sustain economic growth and protect the most vulnerable.”

The bank said efforts to stop and reverse desertification were complicated by the need to feed a rapidly increasing population in a region where natural resources were dwindling and over 90 per cent of national food production depends on smallholder farmers.

World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Shubham Chaudhuri, said, “This scenario not only threatens food security, livelihoods and productivity, but also exacerbates fragility and increases the risk of violence.

“With communities and households that are most dependent on natural resources for their survival and vulnerable to desertification, this intervention will improve multi-sectoral watershed planning and investments to help about 3.4 million direct beneficiaries adapt to evolving dryland conditions” he added.

ACReSAL Task Team Leader, Joy Agene, said that the project will help reduce the vulnerability of millions of the extreme poor in northern Nigeria, strengthening their own role in the management of their natural resources.

“It will also address land degradation, strengthen climate resilience, and lessen livelihood vulnerability in dry, semi-arid and dry sub-humid regions in the northern states,” she said.

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