The federal and state governments in Nigeria have expressed support for the Special Agro-industrial Processing Zones (SAPZ) programme.

The public-private partnership initiative aims to develop priority value chains in the country through developing infrastructure in rural areas.

Development Diaries understands that the African Development Bank (AfDB), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) are championing the programme.

Between January and March 2021, agriculture contributed to 22.35 percent of Nigeria’s total Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Despite the contribution to the economy, Nigeria’s agricultural sector faces many challenges which impact on its productivity.

The challenges include poor land tenure system, low level of irrigation farming, climate change and land degradation.

Others are low technology, high production cost and poor distribution of inputs, limited financing, high post-harvest losses and poor access to markets.

‘The bank and its development partners are mobilising $520 million to co-finance the first phase of the programme in Nigeria, be implemented in phases across six geo-political zones’, the Director-General of AfDB in Nigeria, Lamin Barrow, said during a briefing with the Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed.

The programme, it is understood, consists of infrastructure development and agro-industrial hubs management; agriculture productivity and production; policy and institutional development; and programme coordination and management.

Speaking at the briefing, Ahmed reaffirmed the federal government’s commitment to ensure enabling policies and incentives are put in place to attract tangible private sector investments in the zones.

‘The federal government is committed to successfully implementing the programme to increase agricultural productivity, reduce poverty, and scale up job creation across the country’, said Ahmed.

She also reiterated that 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) would be eligible to participate in the programme.

Kaduna, Kwara, Kano, Imo, Cross River, Ogun, Oyo, and the FCT are participating in phase one of the programme.

Source: AfDB

Photo source: IFPRI

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