Home BUSINESS AGRICULTURE AfDB Mobilises Stakeholders To Design Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones In Nigeria

AfDB Mobilises Stakeholders To Design Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones In Nigeria

Akinwumi adesina
President of the African Development Bank Group, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina has announced that the bank is currently working closely with some stakeholders to design Special Agro-industrial Processing Zones in Nigeria.
The bank and its partners, according to him, have already mobilized $520 million towards the program.
Dr. Adesina, who spoke today, October 11, at the Mid-Term Ministerial Performance Review Retreat held at the Presidential villa, Abuja, on the topic: ‘Nigeria’s Economic Resurgence:
Learning from the African Experience,’ said that the programme is expected to create at least 1.5 million jobs.
The main stakeholders the bank is working with are the Nigerian Federal Government, seven State Governments, the Federal Capital Territory, the Ministries of Finance, Agriculture, Trade, Industry and Investment, Water Resources, and the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA).
According to Dr. Adesina, the key for this is the development of Special Agro-industrial Processing Zones (SAPZs) across the country.
“These will be zones enabled with infrastructure and logistics, to support private sector food and agriculture companies to locate close to the areas of production, and to process and add value to food and agricultural commodities.
The AfDB boss suggested that Nigeria should establish Special Agro-industrial Processing Zones all across the country, as well as the e-Wallet System and Growth Enhancement Scheme, to boost farmers access to productivity.
He said that enhancing farm inputs should be reinstated and enshrined in law and cautioned that Policy reversals should be avoided.
Dr. Adesina insisted that Nigeria needs to boost food security, reduce the price of food, and ensure greater competitiveness of the agricultural sector.
He recalled that while he was Minister of Agriculture, he deployed a highly innovative mobile phone system to reach farmers with subsidized farm inputs, a program called ‘Growth Enhancement Scheme’ and the e-wallet system.
“To be clear, this was the first time in the world that such a system was deployed to reach farmers with subsidized farm inputs via mobile phones.
“And it worked! It brought in transparency. It brought in accountability. It brought in all the major commercial banks. More importantly, it delivered impressive results and led to massive food production. It reached 15 million farmers with high quality seeds and fertilizers, right in their villages. Nigeria’s food production boomed and expanded by an additional 21 million metric tons.
“The rice revolution started then, in Kebbi State and the Northwest, as we deployed innovative high-quality seeds of FARO 44 and FARO 52 rice, which we introduced to Nigeria from the Africa Rice Center.
“I remember visiting the Hadejia Valley irrigation project in Jigawa State, as women farmers told me “thank you Minister, we get our seeds and fertilizers right here via our mobile phones in our village and men cannot cheat us anymore”! I was elated.
“Prices of food fell, as productivity went up.
“The ‘Growth Enhancement Scheme’ and the e-wallet system have been adopted in Togo, Liberia, and other African countries. Yet in Nigeria where they were developed, they are no longer being implemented.”
The former minister cautioned President Buhari about people who would be telling him that it is the lack of rain that is leading to low food production.
“A little, maybe. That it is insecurity. Yes, maybe, to some extent. That it is middlemen. A little, maybe.
“But, Mr. President, the main reason is that farmers no longer have access to quality improved seeds, fertilizers, and farm inputs at scale.
“Farmers across the country are asking for the Federal Government to restore in their words “the popular Growth Enhancement Support Scheme and the e-Wallet system.”
“The Chairman of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Alhaji Farouk Mudi said in March 2020 “These initiatives (the Growth Enhancement Support Scheme and the e-Wallet System) should be restored by the Federal Government. They will boost farmers’ production, create jobs and increase internally generated revenue for the States.”
Dr. Adesina advised the President to please relaunch the ‘Growth Enhancement Scheme’ and the e-wallet system and put millions of farmers at the heart of agriculture — at scale.
“If this is done, and run well, I can assure you that you will see a dramatic turnaround in national food production.
“Your Excellency, Mr. President,
The African Development Bank has helped to finance the revolution of wheat in Sudan, with heat tolerant varieties, by producing 65,000 metric tons of seed. To give you a sense of the magnitude of this, let me say that the largest airplane, the Airbus 380 aircraft, fully loaded with passengers, fuel, and cargo, weighs 98.4 metric tons.
“So, 65,000 metric tons of heat tolerant wheat in Sudan is equivalent to 660 Airbus 380 aircrafts parked on a landing strip.
“The impact was dramatic. In just two seasons, we helped Sudan to cultivate these heat tolerant wheat varieties on 317,00 hectares, which produced 1.1 million metric tons of wheat.
“The Prime Minister of Sudan, Abdallah Hamdok, said with this intervention “the country moved from 25% self-sufficiency to 54% in just two seasons. Sudan expects to become a net exporter of wheat within three years.”
He said that AfDB also supported Ethiopia to cultivate the heat tolerant varieties on over 184,000 hectares.
Interestingly, adding that these same heat tolerant varieties were introduced to Nigeria when he was Minister of Agriculture “and we worked hard to give them to farmers in the Lake Chad Basin.
“Your Excellency Mr. President,
You may wish to know that during the insecurity in the area, my staff at the time, led by Dr. Oluwasina Olabanji, the then Executive Director of the Lake Chad Research Institute, and his team, stayed in the fields, protected the seeds being multiplied, and risked their lives. When insecurity became much more serious, they moved the varieties to Kadawa valley in Kano.
“Dr. Olabanji deserves a national award.
I was on the farms in Kano with several Seriki Nomas or farmer heads. They could not believe that wheat could be as tall as they were! These varieties yield 5 tons per hectare compared to average yield of 1.5 tons per hectare – a 400% increase!
“Nigeria should take advantage of the work of the Bank on this and scale up cultivation of heat tolerant wheat across northern Nigeria.”

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