From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Federal Government, the African Development Bank (AfDB) and other stakeholders are to partner to roll out a Special-Agro Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZ) programme aimed at concentrating agro-processing activities in demarcated areas.
Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, made the disclosure on Friday, when he received briefing on the status of the collaboration on the plan in the State House, commending the progress so far achieved.
According to a statement by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice President, Laolu Akande, Osinbajo said the plan is part of the Muhammadu Buhari administration’s efforts to transform agricultural productivity in the country. The collaborative plan is meant to boost productivity and integrate production, processing and marketing of selected commodities.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Mohammed Nanono, and his counterpart in the Industry, Trade and Investment Ministry, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, were also at the meeting.
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. About 140 of such centers are being envisaged across the country.
The agro-processing centres will be provided with basic infrastructure such as water, electricity and roads, as well as facilities for skills training. Smallholder 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 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, and Kwara. All the other states in the country would be added later as the scheme progresses.