By; SULAIMAN AHMED MISAU, Katsina
Governor Dikko Umaru Radda of Katsina State has solicited the intervention of the African Development Bank (AFDB) for North West’s accelerated development and economic growth, through harnessing the potential of the region’s agricultural and power sectors.
Governor Umaru Radda made the appeal in Abidjan, the capital of Cote D’Ivoire, according to a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Ibrahim Kaula Mohammed, when he led a delegation of Nigerian Governors from states in the North West, to the Corporate Headquarters of the AFDB.
Highlighting the significant challenges facing agricultural development in the North West,
He said told the AFDB management: “We are battling with low agricultural yield, poor extension services, lack of inputs, and zero value of our raw agricultural products”.
Governor Dikko Radda on behalf of his colleagues identified the need for investments in the power sector to support agriculture as well as industrial development in their region and sought the support of AFDB to expand irrigation facilities in their North West.
He said “Your support will assist us provide adequate manufacturing inputs such as fertilisers and agrochemicals to our teeming farmers. Also, your financial support will go a long way to boost the value-chain development of our agricultural and livestock sectors, through mechanisation.”
The Katsina State Governor and his colleagues from Zamfara, Jigawa and Kebbi States, with the Deputy Governors of Kaduna, Kano and Sokoto States, in Abidjan, further discussed with the AFDB President, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, significant advancements in the agriculture and power sectors of their region.
The meeting was pivotal in enhancing regional cooperation toward the development and economic growth of the North Western part of the country. The meeting resulted from months of intense effort by a dedicated working group, comprising members from the North West Governors Forum and senior staff of AFDB’s country office in Nigeria.
The working group was charged with identifying a suitable model for implementing a regional approach to the bank’s development interventions in the agriculture and power sectors. The North Western states have over 60 million people, with over 85% of the working population engaged in agriculture.
Dr. Adesina, in a remark, said he was inspired by the Governors’ commitment to working together for the benefit of their people.
The AFDB President highlighted the current interventions of their bank in Nigeria’s agricultural sector, which include the Special Agro Processing Zones (SAPZ), the Agricultural Transformation Agenda Support Program (ATASP), and the National Agricultural Growth Scheme (NAGS).
“Our Bank is also supporting the power sector with the Nigeria Electrification Project and the National Transmission Expansion Project. Our AFDB has agreed to sponsor a regional cooperation desk to support the Northwestern states as they embark on a regional approach to development,” he said.
He explained that, “Meanwhile, we are encouraging the Governors to work with the federal government to establish a Special Agro Processing Zones Authority in their region, to set standards and boost investments in agriculture. This regional approach is novel, and we are committed to implementing a sustainable model in the North West.”
The statement disclosed that, the Governors would meet in Abuja next week to commit to the next engagement steps with the African Development Bank.