Diversification: Buhari to launch N237bn special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones today

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BY BAMIDELE FAMOOFO

Uba Group

President Muhammadu Buhari will launch a $538.05 million (about N237bn) Special Agro-industrial Processing Zones in Abuja today.

The special Agro-industrial processing zones initiatives co-financed by three major Development Finance Institutions, marks another milestone in the effort of the Buhari-led administration to diversify the revenue base of the country through Agriculture.

The President of Nigeria, government officials, investors, and leaders of the financing institutions (The African Development Bank, Islamic Development Bank and The International Fund for Agricultural Development) are scheduled to grace the two-day occasion which will be held in the nation’s capital city.

The first phase of the event will be held on Monday, October 24, 2022 at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs while phase two of the event will take place at the African Development Bank country office on Tuesday.

According to a statement issued by the country office of the AfDB in Nigeria, “The Special Agro-industrial Processing Zones will feature world-class facilities capable of attracting global investment, particularly, private sector interest, and driving a market-oriented agricultural transformation that will boost agro-processing capacity across Africa.

“The launch in the federal capital, Abuja, will herald the implementation of SAPZ phase 1, and sends a strong message about Nigeria’s commitment to significantly transform its agriculture sector, create jobs, achieve food security, and generate economic revenue. The two-day event will bring together government officials, implementing partners, potential investors, farmers, agripreneurs, members of the diplomatic corps, and the development community,” AfDB further noted.

The first phase of the Nigeria SAPZ programme is co-financed by key development partners to the tune of $538.05 million. The African Development Bank is providing $210 million. The Islamic Development Bank and the International Fund for Agricultural Development will provide combined funding of $310 million. The government of Nigeria is contributing $18.05 million.

“The President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, jointly with the African Development Bank, the Islamic Development Bank and the International Fund for Agricultural Development will launch the Special Agro-industrial Processing Zones (SAPZ) initiative for Nigeria on 24 and 25 October 2022,” AfDB said.

The Federal Government through the Anchor Borrowers Programme of the Central Bank of Nigeria has boosted production in Agriculture by financing.

“Between May and June 2022, under the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme, the Bank released the sum of N3.62 billion, as disbursements to 12 projects for the cultivation of rice, wheat, and maize”

Godwin Emefiele, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, disclosed that the partnership between the Bank and farmers through ABP has significantly improved productivity per hectare of the smallholder farmer from about 2.4 metric tons per ha in 2015 to about 5 metric tons per ha in 2021. He argued that increase in production of rice will lead to increase in supply to the market and that price will eventually begin to drop when local demand is effectively met.

Emefiele explained further that over 3.1 million farmers have been financed for the cultivation of crops across twenty-one agricultural commodities captured under the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme since inception.

“A total of 3,107,890 farmers had been financed for the cultivation of 3,801,397 hectares across 21 commodities through 23 Participating Financial Institutions in the 36 States of the Federation and FCT, from the inception of the programme till date,” Emefiele said.

Between May and June 2022, under the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme, the Bank released the sum of N3.62 billion, as disbursements to 12 projects for the cultivation of rice, wheat, and maize, bringing the cumulative disbursement under the Programme to N1.01 trillion, to over 4.21 million smallholder farmers cultivating 21 commodities across the country. The Bank also disbursed N3.72 billion to finance three (3) large-scale agricultural projects under the Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme (CACS). These disbursements brought the cumulative disbursements under this Scheme to N744.32 billion for 678 projects in agro-production and agro-processing.