The Ogun State government on Tuesday had a meeting towards signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the African Development Bank (AfDB) on the establishment of the Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zone Programme (SAPZ).
The SAPZ would be located at the Gateway Agro-Cargo Airport, Ilishan-Remo in Ikenne local government area of the state.
According to a statement yesterday, the meeting which took place at the AfDB Secretariat in Abidjan, had in attendance Governors Dapo Abiodun, Nasir El-Rufai, Seyi Makinde and Hope Uzodinma of Ogun, Kaduna, Oyo and Imo states respectively.
Their states too had been listed to benefit from the first round of funding under the same scheme.
Speaking at the event, Abiodun lauded the AfDB for choosing Ogun as a major location of the SAPZ, saying the programme aligns perfectly with the Economic and Agricultural Development Agenda and activities of the state.
He noted that the implementation of SAPZ would not only support smallholder farmers and other value chain actors for increased agricultural productivity, but would also enhance food security and nutrition security activities.
He stated further that the programme would ensure job creation through agricultural value chain development in crop, aquaculture, core livestock sectors as well as service provision initiatives in the agricultural sector.
“Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) development,/agro industrialisation through innovative linkages of primary producers to the industrial process,
export promotion/diversification and leveraging on local, national, regional and international trade advantages including African Continental Free Trade area (AFCFTA) will also receive a boon via this programme,” Abiodun noted.
The governor explained that Ogun with its comparative advantages of Arable Land of 1.2 million hectares, cargo airport project, transport master plan and road infrastructure/network targeting food production and processing locations and proposed Agro-Industrial Hub, the SAPZ programme would be a huge success.
“With our Agricultural Transformation Centres and Aggregation Centres, proximity to Lagos market, close proximity to raw materials, expanded primary production and youth engagement in key SAPZ crop -Cassava, Rice and Livestock (Poultry) – with a total of 44,541 registered primary producers, including youths, highest concentration of agro Industries/processors requiring exceptional high number of primary products (raw materials) on daily basis, with over 80 Agro Industries/Processors in Cassava, Rice and Livestock, complementary project activities through the IFAD Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP) and CBN Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP), with over 75,000 registered interested applicants and 13,000 beneficiaries linked to input and credit to the tune of over Two Billion Naira in Cassava, Rice, Maize and Cocoa Commodities, Ogun is good to go.
“The World Bank/Ogun State Economic Transformation Project (OGSTEP) which targets 40,000 smallholder farmers in Nine (9) priority value chains (cassava, maize, rice, soybean, tomatoes, pepper, sesame, fishery and poultry); as well as government policy of mandatory support to agricultural value chain actors and support to smallholder farmers for productivity and inclusiveness in the new focus for agriculture, I have no doubt that the AFDB programme will yield the deaired result,” he added.
Abiodun, however, assured that his administration would further deepen its commitment to supplementary support for SAPZ infrastructures for the Agro-industrial hub for land and related facilities in addition to the Cargo airport in the vicinity of the hub.
“Infrastructural support will be extended and enabling environment will also be provided to Agricultural Transformation Centres (ATCs) and Aggregation Centres.
“There have been mobilisation of existing, emerging and upcoming private sector facilities either already on ground or targeting SAPZ facilities as there have been recent surge in requests for information and request for space in participation for SAPZ/ opportunity or taking part or request to be a player in Ogun SAPZ by stakeholders at farmers’ group, community, local, national and international level since the news broke out in 2020 of AfDB’s intention and Ogun State’s request to participate in the AfDB SAPZ Programme,” he added.