By Oludele Taiwo
Stakeholders in the agricultural sector have urged the Federal Government to ensure a judicious use of the provision of the $538.05m by the African Development Bank, the Islamic Development Bank, and the International Fund for Agricultural Development for the first phase of the Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones for Nigeria programme.
The stakeholders, in separate interviews, said the provision is a welcome development, but that it should be used for the purpose it is meant for. The Chief Executive Officer at Palmfield Development and Processing Limited, Henry Olatujoye, said that it is a welcome development that African leaders are now influencing development banks to finance agriculture.
“One would only hope the fund will be used judiciously to mitigate against food crises in sub Saharan Africa and beyond. This will go a long way at addressing the food crisis in Africa and in most cases, reduce security challenges”, he said, noting that Africa needs peace and this can be achieved, if more youths are engaged in agricultural practices and processing.
The Director/Chief Executive Officer of the Anambra State Fisheries and Aquaculture Business Development Agency (FABDA), Emeka Iloghalu, while speaking said that it is great news and hoped that wrong people would not try to hijack it, in ways that does not ensure sustainable development.
The National President, All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Kabir Ibrahim, stated that it is quite commendable ,that, “Africa is easily the continent that the rest of the world looks up to for global food security largely due to its abundant cultivable and irrigable land resources as well as its 60 percent youth population.
The Chairman of AFAN, Lagos State Chapter, Femi Oke, informed that farmers were looking for implementation of the Special Agro Processing Zones by AfDB in collaboration with the Federal Government of Nigeria. A former Executive Director of Lake Chad Research Institute (LCRI), Dr. Olabanji Oluwasina, said it is a good thing that development partners such as AfDB, Islamic Development Bank and IFAD had allocated about $538.05m for the first phase of Special Agro-Industrial Processing zones in some states of Nigeria to boost food security, reduce poverty and create jobs for youths and women.
It would be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari in Senegal, had lauded the provision of $538.05m by the African Development Bank, the Islamic Development Bank, and the International Fund for Agricultural Development for the first phase of the Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones for the Nigerian programme.
Buhari, in his goodwill message at the Feed Africa Summit of Heads of State and Government in Dakar, said he was pleased with the partnership approach used for Nigeria by the multilateral financing institutions with the African Development Bank providing $210m, the Islamic Development Bank and the International Fund for Agricultural Development providing $310m, and the government of Nigeria providing $18.05m.
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, revealed this in a statement he signed titled “How Africa Can Feed Itself, Produce Surplus for Export by President Buhari”, applauded efforts of the African Development Bank to launch SAPZ, saying ‘‘The Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones for Nigeria, which is in the first phase, will cover seven States in the Federation.