In a significant development for the Nigeria’s agriculture sector, the African Development Bank (AfDB) has announced the initiation of phase II of the Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZ) programme with an aim to revolutionise agricultural practices and propel the country from its agrarian roots into a thriving industrial society, centered around agribusiness.
The announcement, made through an official statement by AfDB, heralds the commencement of a critical workshop, which marks the inaugural event in a series of stakeholder engagements conducted by the bank, designed to gather valuable insights and harmonise diverse interests in anticipation of the second phase of the SAPZ Programme in Nigeria. According to the statement, the SAPZ initiative had garnered immense interest, with 20 Nigerian states expressing their eagerness to participate. These states would undergo a thorough assessment process with the goal of potentially becoming integral components of the SAPZ programme.
At its core, the Nigeria SAPZ Programme, a flagship initiative under the African Development Bank’s Feed Africa Strategy, pursues the dual objectives of achieving food self-sufficiency and increasing the export of processed agricultural products. This comprehensive strategy is laser-focused on fostering agro-processing activities in regions with substantial agricultural potential. SAPZs is purposed to converge farmers, agricultural producers, processors, aggregators, and distributors within the same vicinity. This proximity aims to reduce transaction costs and facilitate shared business development services, ultimately boosting productivity and competitiveness across the agricultural value chain.
The Director-General of AfDB’s Nigeria Country Department, Lamin Barow, stated that in kickstarting the second phase of the SAPZ programme in Nigeria, the bank had planned a two-day inception workshop, followed by a high-level stakeholders’ meeting involving state governors. These events would unite representatives from federal and state governments, development partners, and private sector stakeholders to identify key commodities, high-potential value chains, suitable sites, state government readiness, private sector interest, and other critical factors.
According to the Senior Special Advisor on Industrialisation to the President of the AfDB, Prof. Oyelaran-Oyeyinka Oyebanji, the overarching objective of SAPZ establishment, is to drive structural transformation of the Nigerian economy, turning impoverished rural areas into prosperous zones of growth and opportunity and that, the launch of SAPZ phase II signifies a pivotal step towards achieving transformative vision in Nigeria’s agricultural landscape.