FG to fast track AfDB’s SAPZ project for agricultural growth

Bisola David
Bisola David
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The Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones initiative of the African Development Bank will be accelerated by the Tinubu administration in an effort to boost the sector’s GDP contribution and increase chances for food security and job stability.

According to The Punch, the Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Sen. Abubakar Kyari, said this on Wednesday in Abuja at the SAPZ Phase II Inception Workshop.

He noted that the project aims to diversify the economy of the country by transforming agriculture into a successful business.

Through initiatives like the Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones project, Kyari claimed the new administration is committed to paying agriculture and food security previously unheard-of attention.

“We are steadfast in our resolve to expedite Phases I and II of this project in order to open doors for increased food security, employment security, and GDP contribution.

“SAPZ has settled in. To ensure the program’s successful execution in Nigeria, all hands must be on deck.”

In addition to providing a win-win situation for investors, the government, and residents, he said the initiative will help Nigeria diversify its economy by turning agriculture into a lucrative business enterprise. He also said it was open to greater investor involvement.

The director-general of the AfDB’s Nigeria Country Department, Lamin Barrow, stated that the SAPZ aimed to support the growth of the value chain for strategic commodities in Nigeria and throughout Africa.

He said, “They will offer top-notch infrastructure to aid food agribusinesses in establishing locations near areas of production and in creating competitive value chains supported by logistic systems that will promote food processing and value addition.

“Rural areas will become economically prosperous areas thanks to the SAPZs, which will assist in generating significant wealth and jobs there.”

He continued by saying that the AfDB is creating SAPZs in 11 African nations. With four in Ethiopia and one each in Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Mali, Madagascar, Senegal, and Togo, the Nigeria program is the greatest both in scale and scope as phase 1 is currently being implemented over five years in seven states.

The AfDB representative mentioned that six states—Cross River, Imo, Kaduna, Kano, Kwara, Ogun, and Oyo—are participating in the program. He added that the states were picked for readiness and to achieve a balance among Nigeria’s six geopolitical zones.

The Bank has so far received Expressions of Interest from no fewer than 23 States in all six of the countries’ geopolitical zones. Lagos, Anambra, Benue, Ekiti, Delta, Gombe, Ondo, Jigawa, Katsina, Kebbi, Kogi, Nasarawa, Niger, Bayelsa, Bauchi, Ebonyi, Enugu, Osun, Rivers, Sokoto, Taraba, and Borno are the states in question.

The Vice President stated that the money was obtained “through domestic resources, multilateral development banks, international financial institutions, climate funds leading agro-businesses,” and that it would be used for “Innovation finance for food system transformation; development of Nigeria’s agro value chain and Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones programs.”

He also took advantage of the chance to introduce the VCDP, a partnership between the state, the private sector, and food producers, to the conference’s delegates.

“The VCDP, which is co-funded by Nigeria and IFAD, has empowered vulnerable farmers and youth to enter into business relationships with some of the largest food processing and marketing companies in the world, such as OLAM, a leading agribusiness company operating in over 60 countries with an annual revenue of about $39.8 billion,” says the VCDP’s website.

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