NIGERIA – Kano State in Northern Nigeria has secured a US$95 million agriculture credit facility from the Islamic Development Bank in Saudi Arabia that seeks to improve the agriculture sector.

Mallam Nasiru Gawuna, Deputy Governor, Kano State, said that the funds will be used to improve the irrigation facilities in the region and strengthen its planned export of agricultural products.

“In terms of agriculture, we have the best irrigation facilities in the country and we are partnering with Islamic Development Bank to restructure them. We are going to use most of the 95 million dollars for restructuring irrigation in the state,” he said

He said that the agriculture loan will help the region to strengthen among other value chains, ginger and hibiscus, by developing a processing and export hub within Kano- which counts as the largest market in West Africa.

“Part of the loan will be used for pastoral agriculture; we are going to develop our production in terms of animals and ruminants.

“We are in contact with quarantine service to build the biggest abattoir in the country and we are going to target meat export,” he explained.

However, he highlighted the need to increase investment in the infrastructure sector especially in Kano International Airport in order to realise optimal returns from the export market.

“The use of Kano airport is one thing which we want the Shippers Council of Nigeria and other relevant agencies to come together and revive.

“Particularly in terms of cargoes, the airfreight forwarders association will have to come in and revive activities in the airport,” he said.

The agriculture sector in Nigeria has greately benefited from macroeconomic and structural reforms which are expected to further pave the way for competitive agricultural operations upon implementation of more initiatives towards reduction of production costs and enhancing the agro business environment.

The government’s efforts to diversify the country’s economy has also seen agricultural exports to other countries increased by 77 per cent in 2018.

According to the minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbe, over the last four years the country has also managed to cut down food import by US$21 billion dollars through increased financing in the sector especially by developing the rice value chain and the livestock sector.