The newly launched Nigeria Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zone (SAPZ) is to establish eight agro-industrial processing hubs, 15 Agricultural Transformation Centers, 2,300 hectares of irrigated lands and access roads in Nigeria.
The Director General of AfDB Nigeria, Mr. Lamin Barrow said this on Tuesday at the Strategic Partners and Investors Meeting of the SAPZ in Abuja.
Barrow in said the project has a total investment target of $538 million which would be co-financed by African Development Bank, the International Fund for Agriculture Development and the Islamic Development Bank.
According to him, the program is expected to supply certified agricultural inputs and provision of extension services; training and skills development activities for farmers and SMEs.
Barrow said the Nigeria SAPZ Program is the largest among the SAPZs currently being rolled out in 18 African countries, both in terms of size and scope.
He said the first phase would be implemented in seven states – Cross River, Imo, Kaduna, Kano, Kwara, Ogun and Oyo and the Federal Capital Territory.
Barrow noted that the Strategic Partners and Investors Forum was designed to provide a platform for interactive exchanges for the representatives of key stakeholder groups involved in the SAPZ Program.
He said that the five – year programme would support policy and institutional development for SAPZs.
“The private sector has a critical role to play in the SAPZs, and we are pleased that several private sector firms, domestic and foreign, have expressed keen interest to be located in these zones.
“The implementation of the SAPZs through a public-private partnership framework is therefore anchored on a clear division of labour among the actors,” Barrow said.
The Associate Vice President of International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Ms. Katherine Meighan said Nigeria with over 88 per cent arable land is well positioned as a powerhouse for agro-industrialization across the continent.
In his address, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Mohammad Abubakar said the SAPZ program is dedicated to agro-processing area within major food production clusters with ultramodern infrastructure.