The African Development Bank (AfDB) has disclosed plans to create about 400,000 direct jobs and 1.6 million indirect jobs, through the establishment of the Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZs) across the country. Specifically, the Director-General, Nigeria Country Department, Lamin Barrow, disclosed this when he spoke at the Agribusiness and Food Security Summit organised by Vanguard Newspapers in Lagos.
According to him, the government-enabled and private sector-led Phase 1 of the SAPZ programme will mobilise significant investments in the agro-industrial hubs and agricultural transformation centres. “It will impact some 1.5 million households as direct beneficiaries, with a target to create 400,000 direct jobs and up to 1.6 million indirect jobs.
“The bank and other co-financiers – International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) and the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) – have approved $538 million to finance the first phase of the programme in seven states and the Federal Capital Territory, the programme will support Nigeria’s efforts to raise agricultural productivity, promote investments, create wealth and jobs, and transform the rural areas from being zones of misery into zones of economic prosperity,” he said.
Also, Barrow stated that to drive the transformation of agriculture and foster economic diversification through the development of SAPZs, the bank was supporting Nigeria to implement bold policy measures, adding that the zones will be enabled with infrastructure and logistics to support the private sector agribusiness companies to process and add value to agricultural commodities close to the areas of production. “We are living in challenging times. Before Russia invaded Ukraine which threatens to disrupt the supply of 20-30 percent of the country’s annual wheat imports of 5.6 million MT, Nigeria was already facing high food price inflation in recent times.
“The COVID-19 pandemic and its attendant socio-economic impacts have pushed millions of people into poverty. Global warming and extreme weather conditions continue to intensify, and the droughts experienced in 2020 have weakened food security and nutritional status in the country.
“For Africa to achieve inclusive and sustainable growth, we must boost food security and transform the agricultural sector. That is why the African Development Bank launched its Feed Africa Strategy in 2016 in response to the widening gap in food self-sufficiency in Africa, to contribute to efforts to end hunger, malnutrition, and extreme poverty, and increase Africa’s share of the global commodity value chains. “Productivity is one of the major drivers of profitability in agricultural commodity value chains. Hence, the Technologies for African Agriculture Transformation (TAAT), one of the flagships of Feed Africa, seeks to double farm-level productivity for nine strategic crops by deploying food production technologies to 40 million farmers. TAAT has made remarkable progress since it was launched in 2018,” he added.
Author: Agro Nigeria