NIGERIA – The Africa Development Bank (AfDB) plans to support Nigeria with highly tolerant maize, wheat, and soya bean, among other crops to boost food security amidst climate change challenges.

Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, the President of AfDB revealed during his recent visit to the Centre for Dryland Agriculture (CDA) at the Bayero University, Kano, during their 38th convocation ceremony.

Dr Adesina said that the bank is supporting Nigeria in this year’s dry season to cultivate 118,000 hectares of heat-tolerant wheat varieties and about 150,000 hectares of maize in the wet season that is coming.

He added that the bank has also set aside US$134 million to support the cultivation of 300,000 hectares of rice, another 300,000 hectares of maize, 150,000 hectares of cassava, and 50 hectares of soybeans.

Dr. Adesina explained that climate change, in which Africa accounts for only three percent of global emissions, has no other alternative but to adapt to it by using crops that are tolerant and resistant, getting farmers informed with appropriate and timely information as well as supporting research institutions.

The fact that you have climate change doesn’t mean to be scared, the AFDB supported Ethiopia with heat tolerant wheat varieties that in three years allowed them to become self-sufficient and now a net exporter of wheat,” he added.

He noted that the bank has a program called the African Disaster Risk Insurance Facility which supports farmers and countries in the face of climate change, adding that it will play a big role in the country’s food security resilience.

We have to make sure we help our farmers to know when it is going to rain, how much is going to rain, what crop to plant and when to plant, and how to adapt if the weather is not very very good.”

While restarting the bank’s commitment to deepening its work, the AFDB President said he will ensure that the CDA is given priority by the Global Centre on Adoption on which he sits on the board together with former UN Secretary-General Banki Moon because the Centre is doing exactly what they want to see – supporting farmers in the face of climate change.

He also encouraged students to participate in its agriculture program called Agric Pitch by generating brilliant ideas that can earn them grants of up to 120,000 dollars.

Dr. Akinwumi Adesina was conferred with an honorary Doctorate Degree by the University during the visit.

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