By Sodeinde Temidayo David

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has revealed that it will start implementing the Staple Crop Processing Zones (SCPZ) initiative in eight states in Nigeria.

SCPZs hope to locate crop processing areas in areas where crops are produced or in areas with a comparative advantage in producing the target crops.

This was made public by the Senior Special Adviser on Industrialization, Office of the President, AfDB Group, Mr. Oyelaran Oyeyinka, during the Feed Nigeria Summit held in Abuja on the topic Post-COVID-19: A repaired food system, path to a revived economy.

He said SCPZs are a location model located within farming communities themselves, and revealed that recipient states included Ogun, Oyo, Kano, Kaduna, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Kwara, Imo and the Cross River States.

He said the multilateral lender will work with its partners to ensure the initiative is implemented this year.

According to him, the bank will start implementation with the first set of eight sites in Nigeria for which the Ministry of Agriculture is the executing agent.

“We want to make sure that as a special economic zone model, SCPZ is done in a different way. SCPZ as a location model is located within farming communities.

“It is a solution to solve the Nigerian problem that we have had in stock for decades,” he revealed.

Mr. Oyeyinka further said there was a need to move away from an agrarian society, saying there was no pride in saying that 80 percent are employed in agriculture.

He said there are countries where 2% are employed in agriculture, and still export billions of food to other countries.

The model of the SCPZ initiative should be one of the solutions, as noted by the head of AfDB.

“We believe that SCPZs will stimulate investment in infrastructure, especially in underserved areas of our country.

“SCPZs are catalysts for private sector development. The government allows zones to be built, but ultimately the success of a particular zone depends on how many businesses we are able to attract to that zone.

“So in other words, we are working with private sector actors and we are inviting them right now to these areas,” Oyeyinka said.

This idea aims to attract agro-industries from the private sector to set up processing plants in areas of high food production, in order to transform basic products into food.

The zones will enable the country to significantly reduce its food imports and become a net exporter of processed foods and commodities.

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