The African Development Bank, in collaboration with the government of Nigeria, has held a meeting with stakeholders to discuss details around Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones in the country.
A workshop was held in Abuja from to address the categorisation and location of the SAPZs, which are meant to kickstart the agriculture sector.
“The strategy will promote inclusivity, have a positive multiplier effect in the zones of influence, by increasing yields through the use of modern technologies – improved seed, fertilizers, mechanisation, digitisation, irrigation and maximise positive engagement of youth and women,” said Oyebanji Oyeyinka-Oyelaran, the Senior Special Adviser to the President of the African Development Bank
Oyeyinka-Oyelaran further explained that value addition through better handling of post-harvest losses and processing of the commodities would be a key feature of this programme in order to boost competitiveness.
SAPZs are integrated development initiatives designed to concentrate agro-processing activities within areas of high agricultural potential to boost productivity, integrate production, processing and marketing of selected commodities.
These zones enable agricultural producers, processors, aggregators and distributors to operate in the same vicinity to reduce transaction costs and share business development services for increased productivity and competitiveness.
Speaking at the event, Nigeria’s Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Sabo Nanono, lauded the efforts of the African Development Bank and called for all hands to be on deck in the sustainable implementation of the initiative.
“I am proud that the SAPZ project is taking off, with strong collaboration with the African Development Bank,” he said. “The project is indeed a promising one for the future of agriculture in Nigeria.”
The well-attended forum presented all stakeholders with the opportunity to follow up on outcomes of previous design interventions. The workshop was attended by Afreximbank, the International Finance Corporation, the Food and Agriculture Organization, the Development Bank of Nigeria and the Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency of Nigeria.