Nigeria’s SAPZ project gets $700m boost from AfDB, IFAD

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*Minister of agriculture and rural development, Mr. Muhammad Nanono

The African Development Bank (AfDP and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) have pledged to support Nigeria’s Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZ) project with $700 million.

While the AfDB will support the project with $200 million, IFAD on the other hand will contribute $500 million.

The technical adviser to the minister of agriculture and rural development, Mr. Richard-Mark Mbaram disclosed this yesterday at a webinar.

The SAPZ will be formally inaugurated at the Feed Nigeria 2020 Summit holding in Abuja December 1 – 2 with the theme ‘Agribusiness: Leading Nigeria’s Recovery.’

Also speaking, the chairman, organising committee of the summit, Prof Eustace Iyayi, said the event would focus on how Nigeria can make full economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic by piggybacking on agro-industrialisation.

The professor of Animal Nutrition and Feed Biotechnology said at the webinar that the summit was aimed at encouraging conversation around key evidence-based solutions for recalibrating the Nigerian economy by leveraging the agricultural sector’s transformative capacity.

“FNS2020 can draw attention to the huge gap that continues to exist between production and need. This gap can be significantly reduced by funding support to the private sector to boost production against next year.

“Farmers and other operators need to be given incentives because many already have their businesses wiped out or significantly downsized due to COVID 19,” Iyayi said.

He said Feed Nigeria 2020 would serve as a platform to unveil the National Agricultural Technology and Innovation Plan (NATIP), the federal ministry of agriculture and rural development’s new policy direction spearheaded by the minister of agriculture and rural development, Mr. Muhammad Sabo Nanono.

The ministry’s private-sector inclusion campaign, the Agriculture Policy Alliance Project (APAP), which is a key component of NATIP, will also form part of key engagement areas at the summit.

With SAPZ set for take-off in January 2021, Iyayi said the summit will play a major role in the project’s effective start.

“Beyond discussion, FNS2020 must push for industrialisation. Something just has to push us to that next level. FNS2020 could be that something and the time is now.

“If we have state actors and some investors whose buy-in we have already gotten, such must be used to jump-start the SAPZ launching. Something just has to start,” he added.

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