The Federal Government has restated its determination to partner with the private sector in the development of Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZ) which is aimed at ensuring sustainable food security, economic growth as well as promote jobs creation and wealth generation.
The Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Amb. Mariam Yalwaji Katagum stated this during a meeting on the development of Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones with a team from Messrs. Kikachukwu Agricultural Enterprise Limited led by the Managing Director, Prince Clement N. Okonjo in her office .
The Minister stated that the Government was determined to intensify the diversification of the economy through Agro-Industrial Processing Zone Programme while specific policies have been formulated by the Ministry to support value chains in the Agriculture sector.
Amb. Katagum added that “It has therefore become imperative to partner with private sector and development partners with a view to leveraging and catalyzing resources for diversification and growth in the agro-processing industry”.
According to a statement signed by Mrs Oluwakemi Ogunmakinwa, the Ministry’s Assistant Director of Information, the Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zone (SAPZ) concept is a comprehensive framework for the development of rural areas through one-stop approach of concentrating all the segments of agriculture value-chain of production, processing, storage and marketing in the same cluster zone.
The Minister added that the idea for establishment of the zones was to attract private investments into the huge opportunity available in modern agricultural production, agro-processing and marketing.
Amb. Katagum further said that the Presidential directive to establish Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones in every senatorial district initiative is an avenue to revamp and expand the sector in order to ensure we can be self-sufficient in producing what we can eat and possibly export.
She thanked the delegation for their desire to grow the sector and reiterated the determination of the present administration to partner with the private sector in diversifying the economy.
In his contribution, the Director, Industrial Development Department in the Ministry, Mr. Adewale Bakare re-emphasized on the need for governments to partner with committed private investor towards the development of the Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zone.
Earlier in his presentation, the Project Consultant of Messrs. Kikachukwu Agricultural Enterprise Limited, Prince Peaceman Okonjo stated that his company was established in 1977 with an initial business of importation and sale of poultry equipment and day-old chicks; leveraging opportunities in the Nigerian Agro- allied sector, the company expanded its activities by building an integrated and mechanized poultry business.
The Project Consultant highlighted some of the technical assets of the company which included a full functional 1.5 tons per hour feed mill and warehouse capable of holding 600 tons of feed milling materials situated on 3 acres of land; hatchery complex building for housing the hatching equipment (setters and incubators) capable of setting and hatching up to 570,000 eggs, eight poultry houses with the capacity for holding up to 56,000 commercial and parent stock birds among others.
He also listed the challenges facing the company which ranged from government policies and political climate, inadequate funding and other factors.
The project consultant expressed optimism that the revitalization of their project which is in line with the focus of President Buhari led- administration to develop agro allied industries in all the senatorial zones of the country would provide gainful employment for up to 1500 individuals directly or indirectly within the first 3 years of operations.