FG Positions Agro-Industrial Processing Zones for Food Security in Nigeria

Mustapha Baba Shehuri - Minister of State for Agriculture

The Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Hon. Mustapha Baba Shehuri, has stated that the Ministry in collaboration with African Development Bank (ADB), would promote and develop special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZS) in the country to enable both local and foreign partners advance in the level of trade and investments in the agricultural sector as a veritable strategy to diversify the economy.

The Minister made this known during the Ecobank Agri-business Summit with the theme ‘’ Unlocking Productivity and Investment Opportunities across Nigeria’s Agribusiness Value Chain’’, held in Lagos, on Thursday, Feb 13, 2020.

He said within the overall set of policy principles, the Federal Government is concentrating on providing an enabling environment as well as a level playground for stakeholders at all levels, to enhance investment and capital flow into the Agric sector.

The Minister informed that the Summit also marks another milestone and traction in the journey of economic diversification in line with the vision of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) of the present Administration of His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR.

He emphasized that Nigeria’s potentials and prospects make the Agricultural Sector a pivot for economic stabilization, diversification and growth in the country, adding that the sector is a major contributor to the National Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of about 27% and the biggest in job creation in the non-oil sector.

In his welcome address, the Chief Executive Officer, Ecobank Nigeria, Mr Patrick Akinmuntan said “our immediate focus is to invest N70 Billion in Agriculture financing within the next three years. With an initial take off tranche of N15 billion dedication funding in association with credible financing partners and instruments.”

“We will leverage on the successful templates generated in the commodities and agribusiness sectors in the economies that we have supported across the continent, so we can replicate same in Nigeria”. we are working primarily to create value for all players in the agribusiness value chain, therefore, innovative tools, techniques and methodologies are being created and strategic partnerships are being established to ease agricultural development.” he noted.

In his presentation, the Managing Director, Nigeria Incentive Based Risk System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), Mr Aliyu Abdulhameed, said that investors are in agribusiness primarily to make profit, adding that current local and global trend is to invest in the Agricultural sector.

He emphasised that “however, to maximize its potential, the Nigeria Agriculture sector requires business in areas like finance capital, technology capital among others.

Ezeaja Ikemefuna
For: D. Information (FMARD)