ABUJA, 6 November 2012 – Leaders from the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the World Bank, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the African Development Bank (AfDB) met today to discuss a project to develop Nigeria’s agribusiness sector through major investments in infrastructure.
The project entails the introduction of Staple Crop Processing Zones (SCPZs) across the country in order to ensure access to affordable and quality infrastructure. Crop processing zones optimize the value chain of each crop and the end-products by creating clusters of commercial and small-holder farmers for one or more designated crops in the vicinity of processing plants and markets. The creation of the SCPZs will solve existing gaps in infrastructure, services and the commonly used facilities that support on-farm production and the processing of targeted crops.
The FMARD, World Bank, IFAD and AfDB called on UNIDO to make use of its experience with the development of special economic zones in order to design and implement this project.
During the initial stage, a master plan will be devised for six sites and presented to the Ministry by the end of February 2013. Thirteen sites have already been identified across the country to facilitate the processing of key staple commodities, including fisheries, rice, sorghum, horticulture and cassava. Another five sites are under consideration and are likely to be devoted to livestock and palm oil.
The Staple Crop Processing Zones programme will be underwritten by financing from the World Bank (US$300m) and the AfDB (US$200m). Further funding is being prepared by IFAD.
The SCPZs programme is part of Nigeria’s Agricultural Transformation Agenda. Facing a stagnant agricultural sector and a growing reliance on food imports, the government has committed to revive and strengthen agriculture value chains for selected crops and agricultural products through partnerships with the private section.
A key component of the transformation of agriculture is the development of agriculture as a business, with a special focus on young entrepreneurial commercial farmers, private sector investments, and the development of agribusinesses (seeds, fertilizers, machinery, storage and logistics, food manufacturing, etc.). The SCPZs will ensure reduction of post-harvest losses, backward integration to use surplus production of agricultural produce, assure markets for farmers and ensure the emergence of more competitive food systems that can produce and deliver food at competitive costs.
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