The African Development Bank (AfDB) is to support Nigeria to develop Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones in the six geo-political zones, as part of the quest for food security in the country.
Dr Akinwumi Adesina, President of the Bank and former Minister of Agriculture disclosed this while briefing President Muhammadu Buhari at State House, Abuja.
The Special Agro Processing Zone(SAPZ), a federal and states government and African Development Bank programme, which is also supported by other financial institutions like the Islamic Bank and the International Funds for Agricultural Development(IFAD).
It was learnt that Chief Chris Agara, an agro business entrepreneur from Cross River State fought hard to influence the location of the Cross River hub of the processing zone in Ikom, Cross River State.
The project is intended to add value to the farm products of farmers across the country and to mitigate farmers’ losses, as they would begin to have their perishable farm products processed.
The SAPZ is a government enabled but private sector driven project and is also expected to boost development of agro business in each of the regions where it is located, generate employment for the people and give life to the nation’s economy.
At the meeting, Adesina said “we have decided to mobilize $540 for the program. The African Development Bank has approved a total of $210 million. The Islamic Development Bank, and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) have approved $170 million, and $160 million respectively, towards the programme.”
The AfDB President indicated that the processing zones will initially be rolled out in seven States, including Kano, Ogun, Oyo, Kaduna, Kwara, Imo, Cross River, and the Federal Capital Territory.
“I look forward, Your Excellency, to your formal launch of these Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones, very soon,” Dr Adesina added.