(AGENDAWATCHDOG) – Plans are in top gear by the federal government to inaugurate a special agro-industrial processing zones (SAPZ) programme, according to Laolu Akande, spokesman of Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, who disclosed this via a statement on Friday.
Akande said the project was in collaboration with the African Development Bank (AfDB) and other stakeholders in the agric sector, including the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Bank of Industry (BOI), and is aimed at concentrating agro-processing activities in demarcated areas to boost productivity and integrate production, processing and marketing of selected commodities.Advertisement
Akande said Osinbajo was briefed on the progress of the project in a meeting attended by Mohammed Nanono, minister of agriculture and rural development, and Niyi Adebayo, his counterpart in the industry, trade and investment ministry.
Under the programme, the federal government will demarcate areas across the 36 states and the federal capital territory (FCT) to establish about 140 agro-processing centres. The centres will be provided with basic infrastructure such as water, electricity and roads as well as facilities for skills training, while small-holder farmers in the catchment areas will be linked to markets across the value chain.
Seven states — Ogun, Oyo, Imo, Cross River, Kano, Kaduna, Kwara — and the FCT have been selected for the first phase of the project.
AfDB in collaboration with other stakeholders is ready to start the first phase of the SAPZ programme, having completed a joint appraisal mission across the 36 states.
PROJECTED IMPACT: The project, when completed, will create an important opportunity for smallholder farmers in Nigeria to improve their farm yields, enhance their income and livelihoods.