The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), says it has directly invested 459 million U.S. dollars in Nigeria through domestic and international co-financings.

Ms Dede Ekoue, IFAD Nigeria Country Director, said this at a-3 day Financial Management and Procurement Workshop for Federal Government of Nigeria/IFAD projects on Thursday in Abuja.

The workshop was organised by IFAD in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), Finance, Budget and National Planning with the support of the Country Programme Advisory Team (CPAT).

Participants were drawn from the LIFE-ND and VCDP national and state project’s management team from 15 states;

Others were presentatives of the IFAD country office, IFAD Financial Management Services Division (FMD), Procurement Team, the Federal Ministries of Finance and Agriculture and CPAT.

According to her, IFAD currently funds two effective projects in Nigeria which are Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP) and the Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprise-Niger Delta (LIFE-ND) in the south.

“IFAD currently funds VCDP in the central part of Nigeria, LIFE-ND in the south, Special Agro-Processing Zones Programme in Kano and Ogun States expected to commence while Climate Change Adaptation and Agribusiness Support Programme (CASP) in the north closed in March 2022.

“Its direct investment in Nigeria (loan and grant) through these programmes amount to US$459  million leveraging a total budget of one billion US dollars through domestic and international co-financing including the CASP project,” she said.

Ekoue said it also linked the households  to agro-processing firms and further supported them to adopt climate resilient practices.

According to her, VCDP beneficiaries were about 100,000, comprised of men and farmers and processors.

The FG/IFAD-LIFE-ND programme which focuses on nine states in Niger Delta is to support youth and women establish profitable agribusinesses in the region through apprenticeship in agri-enterprises.

It also gives them support in the area of  production and market infrastructure and access to financial services in seven commodities.

The commodities are: poultry, fisheries, cassava, rice, plantain, cocoa and oil palm.

The country director identified partnership between IFAD and Nigeria as one of the largest partnership of the organisation globally.

She expressed IFAD’s continuous commitment to work with the Federal Government to improve the lives of rural communities,  enhance the contribution of agriculture to inclusive growth and job creation and ensure sustainability and resilience to crises and climate.

Ekoue said that the workshop was organised to further scale up the impact of the important partnership for Nigerian small holder farmers through improved procurement and financial management practices in the implementation of VCDP and LIFE-ND projects under FGN/IFAD cooperation.

“Objectives of the workshop are to strengthen and improve the quality of project procurement and financial management practices to emphasis fit-for-purpose, choice, quality and greater value for public spending while enabling adaptation to Nigeria contexts,” she said.

Among  the other objectives were to deepen project staff’s knowledge on project procurement and financial management, identify and address key challenges to effective and timely implementation of actions recommended by supervision and support missions among others.

In his address, Mr Ubandoma Ularamu, Director, Projects Coordinating Unit (PCU) FMARD, said the three projects currently funded by IFAD had contributed immensely to improving the livelihood of the rural population in the country.

Ularamu commended IFAD and its country office in Nigeria for consistent efforts and great strides towards reducing poverty and fostering economic growth in the country “especially among rural small holder farmers.

According to him, since 1985, IFAD has worked closely with the federal government towards the development of the agricultural sector and the reduction of rural poverty.