FG Mobilizes $500 Million for Agro-Industrial Processing Zones, says VP Shettima

Jesse Voyamba

Vice President Kashim Shettima delivered a significant announcement on Monday, revealing that Nigeria has successfully mobilized over $500 million to drive innovative, profitable, equitable, and sustainable food system transformation initiatives. Shettima made this announcement while presiding over a high-level meeting at the United Nations Food Systems Summit in Rome.

The Vice President emphasized that the substantial funding was sourced from a combination of domestic resources, multilateral development banks, international financial institutions, and climate funds. Leading agro-businesses have also actively participated in contributing to this ambitious initiative. The earmarked funds are intended to support various aspects of food system transformation, including innovation finance, development of Nigeria’s agro value chain, and the establishment of Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZ) programs.

“In this event, the government of Nigeria will be showcasing its value chain development program (VCDP) as a unique example of a successful partnership between producers, the public sector, and private operators,” quoted Olusola Abiola, Director of Information, Office of the Vice President.

The VCDP, co-funded by Nigeria and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), has proven instrumental in empowering vulnerable farmers and youth to engage in commercial partnerships with prominent global food processing and marketing firms, including Olam.

Vice President Shettima affirmed the federal government’s unwavering commitment to empowering Nigeria’s rural smallholders, operators, youth, and women who are currently living below the poverty line. He expressed optimism that these special agro-industrial processing zones (SAPZ) would provide opportunities for meaningful growth and development in the agricultural sector.

Highlighting the significance of the SAPZ, Shettima pointed out that local governments, IFAD, the African Development Bank (AfDB), Olam, and other private actors were collaboratively brought together with the Nigerian government to facilitate transformative financing for food systems that would leave no one behind.

Speaking on the conducive business environment, the Vice President noted that the government has made strategic moves, including the withdrawal of subsidies on petrol, a move taken from the playbook of President Ruto in Kenya. To mitigate the impact of the subsidy removal, the government promptly released grains and fertilizers, and a commodity marketing board has been established to continuously review and monitor food item prices.

Furthermore, the government has allocated substantial funds to reposition the security architecture, aimed at providing support to farms and farmers. With these comprehensive measures and substantial funding, Nigeria is poised to revitalize its agro-industrial sector and drive positive change within the country’s food systems.

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