Agricultural productivity, enhanced by the preservation and alteration of produce, is expected to make a giant leap in Nigeria, as the Africa Development Bank (AfDB), Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and Africa Growing Together Fund (AGTF) collaborate to develop Special Agro-Processing Zones (SAPZ) across the country. The funding parties have together pledged $520 million as a grant to states slated to benefit during the first phase of the SAPZ project funding program.
The states include Imo, Ogun, Kaduna, Kwara, Kano, Cross River, Ogun, Oyo, and the Federal Capital Territory Abuja. The grant is for the development of the first phase of Special Agro-industrial Processing Zones (SAPZs) in the country.
The Senior Special Adviser to the President of the Africa Development Bank on industrialization, Prof. Banji Oyeyinka, revealed that the AfDB had committed the sum of $160 million, while AGTF made $50 million, IsDB $150 million, and IFAD $160 million available for the project in Nigeria.
He said the SAPZ project would be flagged off before the end of 2021.
The Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, who spoke during the virtual discussions on SAPZ, disclosed that the FCT and the states were chosen based on an assessment of their states of readiness. She said other states would be selected for participation in subsequent phases.
“This project aligns with Mr. President’s diversification agenda, which has the practicality of improving economic growth. The effectiveness of the SAPZ has become essential considering the impact of the COVID-19 across the world, including its impact in Nigeria,” she said.
The FCT Minister of State, Dr. Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, said the FCT Administration was fully committed to the success of the project, adding that the project would facilitate the development of satellite towns and rural communities, create jobs and employment, enhance the security of lives and properties, generate wealth, and improve governance outcomes.
She equally stated that the FCT Administration has since February 2020, submitted the SLPZ as a flagship project to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) as part of the mandatory Performance Delivery Report towards empowering 100 million Nigerians by June 2029.
The minister said the Paikon-Kore grazing reserve in Gwagwalada area council has been earmarked to host the hub while associated transformation centres are to be sited in Karshi and Karu grazing reserves in AMAC and Bwari Area Council, respectively, and the Abuja Technology Village.