Nigeria partners AfDB, others to set up Special-Agro Industrial Processing Zones
…AfDB pledges $300 mln support
By Samuel Bankole
Nigeria plans to set up a Special-Agro Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZ) Programme aimed at concentrating agro-processing activities in demarcated areas to boost productivity and integrate production, processing and marketing of selected commodities.
According to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, the project would be in partnership with the African Development Bank (AfDB) and other stakeholders.
The AfDB had in February said it will support the project with $300 million and take off date put at around July this year.
Osinbajo said the project is part of the present administration’s efforts to transform agricultural productivity in the country.
The Vice President who spoke at a meeting at the Presidential Villa where he was briefed about the status of the collaboration, said about 140 of such centers are being envisaged across the country.
Under the programme, the Nigerian government, in collaboration with the AfDB and working with other stakeholders such as the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Bank of Industry, will demarcate areas across the 36 States and the FCT where the agro-processing centres will be established.
The agro-processing centres will be provided with basic infrastructure such as water, electricity and roads as well as facilities for skills training.
Small-holder farmers in the catchment areas will be linked to markets across the value chain.
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To set off the plan in the opening phase, 7 States representing most of the geo-political zones in the country have been selected in addition to the Federal Capital Territory.
The States are Ogun, Oyo, Imo, Cross River, Kano, Kaduna, Kwara. All the other States in the country would be added later as the scheme progresses.
The programme aligns with the Economic Sustainability Plan and the Next Level programme of the Buhari administration regarding agriculture.
Briefing Osinbajo on the progress made so far in the implementation of the programme, AfDB’s Acting Vice President, Agriculture, Human and Social Development, Toda Atsuko said the bank in collaboration with other stakeholders was ready to start the first phase of the Special-Agro Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZ) Programme, having completed a joint appraisal mission across the 36 States with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
Atsuko who commended the Buhari administration for its efforts said the success of the project is hinged on the political will of the Buhari administration, adding that the plan will create jobs, and leverage on technology with significant youth participation.
“I am very pleased to see that work has advanced and quite a bit is already being done.
“There is a need to synergize really concretely with Green Imperative (which is the partnership with the Brazilians), I think there are areas where these two programmes can complement each other,” according to the Vice President.
“I am absolutely certain that we have enough room given the sheer size of the agric enterprise in Nigeria, we have enough room to accommodate these programmes, especially when they are synergized in a way that it will benefit the entire sector.”