By Adelola Amihere
Determined to improve the agricultural value chain including providing linkages to the regional and international market and fast track the economic transformation agenda of the government, the Federal Government in partnership with the African Development Bank has earmarked about $500million for the establishment of Special Agricultural Processing Zones (SAPZ) across the six geopolitical zones of the country.
Finance Minister Zainab Ahmed disclosed this during the inception workshop of the SAPZ in Abuja.
She explained that the processing zones would among others provide higher incomes, create jobs and improve livelihood of peasant farmers, mentioning that implementation of the SAPZ would be carried out in four different zones identified by the AfDB.
Reiterating the commitment of the Finance Ministry to the initiative, she said “To support the contribution AfDB, the government is setting aside the sum of $500 million for the initiative. We shall continue our engagement with AfDB to ensure prompt implementation of the initiative and the ministry of finance is committed to it.”
On his part, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Muhammad Nanono while declaring open the two day workshop maintained that the success of the six Special Agro Processing Zones, SAPZs, depends on agricultural mechanization.
While commending the African Development Bank towards the SAPZs also pledged support of the ministry to ensure the project comes on stream to boost food production, security, and employment generation, said there is no reason for the project to fail this time around.
He said: “This project is crucial to the development of this country. I think attempts have been made from where it is taken for these processing zones in six processing zones, unfortunately it has never been able to take off.”