An additional $1 billion in funding has been secured by Nigeria to implement the Special Agro-industrial Processing Zones (SAPZ) program across 24 states. The African Development Bank (AfDB), the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) all approved to provide funding for the SAPZs projects in the states. AfDB president Akinwumi Adesina stated that the second phase of the program will deliver special agro-industrial processing zones in 24 states of Nigeria by mobilizing an additional $1 billion.
According to a statement released by Stanley Nkwocha, Adesina made this announcement during the World Food Prize 2023 in Iowa, United States. Initial funding of $520 million was approved by the AfDB and its partners in October 2022 to establish SAPZs in 8 states. The resolve to establish SAPZs in 13 nations, as stated by Adesina, led to the decision to invest the funds in Nigerian agribusiness industry. He stated that substantial resources are being committed to the development of SAPZs in order to facilitate the growth of agricultural value chains, food processing, and value addition. As well as enabling infrastructure and logistics to boost food trade on a local, national, and international scale.
Additional co-financing of $661 million has been secured by AfDB.
AfDB is investing an estimated $853 million into developing the Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones by the African Development Bank Group. In his speech ‘From Dakar to Des Moines’, Adesina announced that the bank has secured additional co-financing of $661 million, bringing the total commitment to $1.5 billion. He bemoaned that despite the advancements in African agriculture, over 283 million people suffered from hunger. The dialogue at the World Food Prize 2023 was an epic tale of how the power of science, technology, policy, and politics could be combined to help Africa realize its agricultural potential and feed itself with dignity.
SAPZ, initiated by the African Development Bank, was launched in Nigeria on October 24, 2022, marking the beginning of the country’s journey to end hunger and attain food security. Eight states, including Cross River, Imo, Kaduna, Kano, Kwara, Ogun, Oyo, and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, began rolling out the program’s initial phase at a launch event held in Abuja. AfDB is donating $210 million, IsDB and IFAD are contributing $310 million, and the Nigerian government is contributing $18.05 million.
This initiative is crucial to the nation’s food security.
These new economic zones (the Special Agro-industrial Processing Zones) will be fully supported by infrastructure (electricity, water, roads, digital infrastructure, and logistics) to attract food and agribusiness enterprises to rural areas. This, according to Adesina, will pave the way for the establishment of highly competitive food and agricultural value chains by placing them in close proximity to farmers in production catchment areas, hence providing market demand for farmers, bolstering processing and increased value, reducing food losses, and boosting overall food security.
Value chains for important crops such as maize, cassava, rice, soybeans, cocoa, poultry, and livestock products will be developed in the SAPZs in Nigeria. Millions of lucrative employment, especially for young people and women, will be generated as a result. In a rallying call, Adesina noted that SAPZs are crucial to the nation’s food security, rural economies, budgetary flexibility, realization of Nigeria’s agricultural potential, and creation of millions of employment opportunities. At the international dialogue, Vice President Kashim Shettima delivered a keynote address in which he expressed optimism that the new administration of President Bola Tinubu will provide an enabling climate for investors in the zones.
All participants in the value chain will be adequately provided for.
He also promised that in the next cropping cycle, the federal government would lead an initiative to help farmers by providing them with agricultural extension services, fertilizer, and expanding irrigation areas to a million hectares. The Vice President has stated that Nigeria needs to produce approximately 2.4 million tonnes of wheat grains. We plan to engage with our farmers via digitalization and small-scale irrigation projects. Through creative financing, partial credit guarantees, and crop insurance, all participants in the value chain will be adequately provided for. Vice President Shettima added that the country aims to be rice self-sufficient by the year 2027.