Ogun State has been described as the most suitable location for the African Development Bank and International Fund for Agricultural Development (AfDB/IFAD) Special Agricultural-Processing Zone (SAPZ) programme.
Both bodies expressed this when they were received by the governor of Ogun State, Dapo Abiodun, in Abeokuta, last week.
Also, the Commissioner for Finance and Chief Economic Adviser, Mr Dapo Okubadejo, presented arguments and facts to support the proposed cargo airport in the state. He said the African Free Continental Trade Agreement (AFCTA) is the largest regional economic network, and Ogun State is strategically located with presence of multinational agro-allied conglomerates to benefit from the trade.
About 74 per cent of the landmass in Ogun is arable, and the state is the largest producer of poultry, cassava and a host of other produce.
The AfDB/IFAD teams were on a pre-appraisal mission for development of Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zone, led by Dr Chuma Ezedinma.
In his remark, the Country Director, IFAD, Dr Patrick Habamenshi, noted that Nigeria as a country has the potential to achieve greatness through agriculture.
While stressing that the development of the sector is paramount to IFAD, Habamenshi urged the governor to support the team with the necessary logistics that might be required towards the successful implementation of the project.
Addressing the team, the governor declared that Ogun has the potential in the area of good road networks, power plant, rail, deep sea-port, gas pipeline, dams among others factors that promote industrialization.
The government said its agro-cargo airport would catalyze industrial revolution and value chain development through the agro-processing zone.
The state is one of the six where agricultural processing zones would be financed by AfDB and IFAD in Nigeria.
He said with its current level of infrastructure, coupled with the concentration of agro-investors and nearness to raw materials and large market, Ogun is naturally a SAPZ location and suitable for SAPZ innovation and case study.
“There is a level of coordination, aggregation and agro-transformation currently going on in the state, as the largest hub for both conventional industries and Agro Industries, which are located near Lagos, one of the largest markets in Africa.”
Abiodun added that with the earmarking of 20,000 hectares of land including advance level brown field activities, the state has taken the AfDB SAPZ initiative to a higher level, emphasising that the commencement of the Cargo Airport, whose first phase would be delivered in 2022, would complement export opportunities and nationwide supplies.
According to him, the state was happy to be chosen as one of the benefitting states in the country, saying the project was in line with the administration’s economic agenda.
“I note with great pleasure, our agenda to pursue international collaborations, which is leading us, with hopes from the AfDB SAPZ initiative, just like our collaboration with IITA which has helped us deliver on key Agricultural outputs, with extraordinary performances,” he stated.
He expressed delight at the progress made by the state in the Federal Government of Nigeria/International Fund for Agricultural Development’s Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP), whereby 13,000 people had been linked to credit market and jobs as well as benefits of infrastructure, markets, roads, land clearing and others.
“Since inception of this administration in May 2019, our agricultural agenda has been bold, daring, ambitious and exemplary. From registration of over 80,000 people (mostly youths) for Agricultural value chain opportunities, to linkage of over 15,000 people to credit, input and guaranteed market and productivity in the FGN/CBN Ogun Anchor Borrowers Programme and other programmes, despite a restrictive COVID-19 year, and a host of others.
“The gathering of global agricultural authorities and experts, as part of our administration’s bid for the Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zone (SAPZ) Project, is an indication of our government’s continuous effort to seek partnership and collaboration, in its resolve to support all levels of agricultural activities to achieve food security,” Abiodun pointed out.
The governor said since inception of this administration in May 2019, “our agricultural agenda has been bold, daring, ambitious and exemplary – from registration of over 80,000 people (mostly youths) for agricultural value chain opportunities to linkage of over 15,000 people to credit, input and guaranteed market and productivity in the FGN/CBN Ogun Anchor Borrowers Programme and other programmes despite a restrictive COVID-19 year, and a host of others.”