Saturday, 17 April 2021: Nigeria government in partnership with the African Development Bank (AfDB) and other stakeholders will soon roll out 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.
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 (BoI) will demarcate areas across the 36 states and the FCT where the agro-processing centres will be established.
140 of such centres being envisaged across the country, would be provided with basic infrastructure such as water, electricity and roads as well as facilities for skills training.
Also, small-holder farmers in the catchment areas will be linked to markets across the value chain.
To set off the plan in the opening phase, seven states namely Ogun, Oyo, Imo, Cross River, Kano, Kaduna, Kwara representing most of the geo-political zones in the country have been selected in addition to the Federal Capital Territory. All the other states would be added later as the scheme progresses.
Briefing Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on the progress made so far in the implementation of the programme, AfDB’s Acting Vice President, Agriculture, Human and Social Development, Ms 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 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. Osinbajo commended the progress in the plan yesterday at a meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, where he was briefed about the status of the collaboration.
The Vice President while lauding the work done so far, said there is a need to synergise really concretely with Green Imperative (which is the partnership with the Brazilians).
According to him, ”I think there are areas where these two programmes can complement each other. 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.
”Again, synergy will be crucial with the States because there is no way of getting this thing done without a close collaboration with the States because the States are where these projects will be cited. This is a very good progress that we have made and we must ensure this actually works. Particularly with the collaboration of the Ministry of Agriculture, and Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment.”
Earlier in his remarks, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Mohammed Nanono, welcomed the partnership, noting that it would be to the benefit of farmers and the agric sector at large.
He emphasised the need for synergy of ideas and efforts to ensure that the Special-Agro Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZ) Programme complements the Green Imperative initiative of the Buhari administration.
Also speaking, Associate Vice President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Mr. Donal Brown who joined virtually, said the organisation would co-finance the project with the AfDB with the view to creating an important opportunity for small-holder farmers in Nigeria to improve their farm yields, enhance their income and livelihoods