FG begs World Bank for $600mb loan to fight land degradation in North


The Federal Government on Wednesday announced plans to tackle land degradation in the 19 northern states and the Federal Capital Territory with a $600m loan from the World Bank.

It disclosed this at a consultative workshop on climate-resilient and nutrition enriched agriculture innovations organised by HarvestPlus and the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics in Abuja.

The National Project Coordinator, Nigerian Erosion and Watershed Management Project, Salisu Dahiru, told journalists on the sidelines of the workshop that the intervention was done through the NEWMAP/Agro-Climatic Resilience in Semi-Arid Landscapes project.

Dahiru, who was represented by the Water Resources Specialist for NEWMAP/ACReSAL, Ayuba Anda-Yalaks, said the aim of the project was to address the issues of land degradation in terms of deforestation, erosion, stormwater management and meeting the needs of people for food production.

“This is because for lands that have been degraded, there is a need to restore these lands to better productive use. By doing that, we are also restoring the landscape,” he stated.

Asked about the number of states to benefit from the project and what it would cost to implement it, he replied, “We are targeting the 19 northern states plus the FCT. The cost of this project is about $600m for a period of six years.

“And it is a loan being obtained by the Federal Government from the World Bank and the International Development Association.”

Dahiru said the project was initiated by state governments in the North, adding that the Federal Government was still at the preparatory mode of the project.

He said, “We hope it will be effective with the endorsement and approval of the Federal Executive Council today (Wednesday). Once it is approved by FEC, all other aspects and instruments that need to be in place for effective disbursements have already been concluded.”

The Nigeria Country Manager, HarvestPlus, Yusuf Dollah, told journalists that his organisation and ICRISAT were providing technical support for the ACReSAL project, describing it as a climate activity under the management of the Ministries of Environment and Agriculture/Rural Development.

“We are promoting crops that are climate tolerant, but our primary objective is to breed and promote crops that have high levels of micro-nutrients and vitamins that we can use to solve our food problem in Nigeria,” he stated.