By James Emejo
The Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) and Farmcrowdy, the country’s first digital agriculture platform, are currently in talks on establishing an agriculture special economic zone for Nigeria.
The announcement followed a meeting between the Managing Director/Chief Executive, NEPZA, Prof. Adesoji Adesugba and the Farmcrowdy boss, Mr. Onyeka Akuma, after a courtesy visit by the latter to present the company’s plans of adding value through agriculture products processing and expansion of the sector through a special zone.
Akuma said it was high time Nigeria increased its non-oil exports and earn the much needed foreign exchange in a more diversified economy, stressing that his company is “poised to go to the next level of our organisational development by looking at using the special economic zones to actualise our dream.”
He said Farmcrowdy planned to play an important role in the export of processed agricultural products to other African countries as soon as the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AFCTA) commences.
African leaders had moved the implementation of the AFCTA to January 2021 after failing to meet July 2020 timeline because of the adverse impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Adesugba however, expressed the agency’s readiness to partner the company towards the actualisation of the special economic zone for agriculture, describing Farmcrowdy as “an innovative firm with great contribution to agricultural business in Nigeria.”
The NEPZA boss said: “I have known Akuma as a trailblazer in revolutionising agriculture through the use of technology and crowd-funding since the inception of Farmcrowdy.
“Nigeria is paying special attention to agricultural development in order to feed an ever-growing population, create jobs and generate wealth to eradicate poverty.
“The NEPZA is ready to support Farmcrowdy in its plan to set up an Agriculture Special Economic Zone.”
He further expressed confidence in the ability of the young Nigerians in the company to make great things happen in the sector.
He restated his committment to transform the Authority into a truly investors’ service entity to multiply foreign direct investment in the country.
Farmcrowdy launched in 2016 is Nigeria’s First Digital Agriculture Platform that empowers rural farmers by providing them with improved seeds, farm inputs, training on modern farming techniques and provides a market for the sale of their farm produce.