By NBF News

THE World Bank has expressed concern over the slow pace of implementation of its $185 million Commercial Agriculture Development Programme (CADP) in Nigeria.

Five states- Enugu, Cross River, Kano, Kaduna and Lagos are currently implementing the programme.

The Bank's Team Leader in charge of CADP, Mr Louis Akapa, expressed the bank's reservation yesterday, in Abuja, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria.

He stressed the need for the five states to adopt 'an aggressive' approach in the implementation of the programme.

Akapa also stressed the need for the authorities of the five states to identify the difference between CADP and Fadama programmes.

He said: 'The World Bank is not too happy with the implementation of the programme in the manner it is being run as a small scale farmer's project.

'This is totally not in line with the concept of CADP, which is a public-private driven initiative.

'CADP is meant for big time farmers who have all it takes and have been in business for at least three years.'

Akpata warned that if there is no improvement in the implementation of the programme, the bank would not hesitate to withdraw its participation.

'Any state which achieves 30 per cent endorsement in the implementation of the programme by 2011 will enjoy additional $50 million funding from the World Bank.

'With the element of competition among the five states outlined in the programme, any one of them that does not hasten its rate of implementation will not enjoy additional funding,' he added.

Akapa described CADP as a 'national tool for agricultural development,' saying it was predicated on the principle of transparency, sustainability and accountability.

He said members of his team and officials of the five states had met to proffer solusions to the challenges militating against the implementation of the programme.

He expressed hope that the nation's agricultural sector would be fully developed in the next few years to drastically reduce poverty, if the World Bank's programmes were implemented.