FG targets $500m to develop Agro-Industrial Processing Zones
The Federal Government of Nigeria has pledged $500million in collaboration with the African Development Bank on the development of Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones (SPAZs) across the country. Speaking at the SAPZ inception workshop, Honourable Minister for Finance, Zainab Ahmed stated that this money being put in was in line with improving the value chain of agriculture across the country. The Minister represented by Mr. Fidel Odey noted that the pledge from the government was a commitment to ensure the actualization of the Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones in Nigeria. The Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Mohammed Sabo Nanono said the partnership will serve as a means of diversifying the economy away from oil and gas. He emphasized that the initiative presented an avenue to advance to improve mechanized agriculture in Nigeria, as well as improved seedlings and capacity building for farmers. According to him, SAPZs presents a double opportunity, one that will surely succeed with proper planning and strategy. He added that the country affects everyone, and this is a vital initiative that must be taken seriously. There is a pressing need for Nigerians to act now, as this affects everyone, he said. The House of Representative Committee Chairman on Agricultural Production and Services Hon. Dandutse Muntari expressed the willingness of the legislative to help in achieving mechanized agro-allied farming in Nigeria. He expressed readiness to help tackle what he termed system failure, in an industry that has the capacity to boost the nation’s economy. The federal government also assured all state governments on working with them to ease the issue of land clearing for agriculture across the country, Implementation partners at the event included: Bank of Agriculture (BOA), Bank of Industry (BOI), Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), Nigerian Agricultural Insurance Corporation (NAIC), and the International Economic Relations Department (IERD). The organizations highlighted faith in the continued partnership on agriculture development in Nigeria over the years. They also expressed renewed optimism in the directions and steps taken so far to improve agro-allied agriculture in Nigeria.