A workshop was held in Abuja from 17-18 February to address the categorisation and location of the SAPZs, which are meant to kickstart the agriculture sector.
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.
The forum presented all stakeholders with the opportunity to follow up on outcomes of previous design interventions. The workshop was attended, among others, by Afreximbank, the International Finance Corporation, the Food and Agriculture Organisation, the Development Bank of Nigeria and the Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency of Nigeria.
The senior special adviser to the president of the AfDB, Oyebanji Oyeyinka-Oyelaran, outlined the strategy for Nigeria, saying it would focus on developing key value chains and select the most promising agricultural clusters.
“The strategy will also promote inclusivity, have a positive multiplier effect in the zones of influence, by increasing yields through the use of modern technologies – improved seed, fertilisers, mechanization, digitization, irrigation and maximise positive engagement of youth and women,” he said.
Handling post-harvest losses in focus too
He further explained that value addition through better handling of post-harvest losses and processing of the commodities would be an important feature of this programme to boost competitiveness.
Special agro-industrial processing zones 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.
“The establishment of SAPZs in Nigeria will boost the structural transformation of the economy by providing opportunities for public and private sector investment in agriculture,” said Ebrima Faal, senior director for the AfDB in Nigeria.
“When fully operational, the SAPZs will enhance national food and nutritional security, optimise the export of value-added agricultural commodities and improve the quality of livelihoods through wealth creation for rural farming communities,” he added.