Eight States To Benefit From FG’s Agro-Processing Zones Programme

The Federal Government has announced plans to launch a special agro-industrial processing zones (SAPZ) programme in 7 states of the federation, including the FCT.

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Laolu Akande, spokesman of Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, made this known in a statement in Abuja.

He said the project is in partnership with the African Development Bank (AfDB) and other stakeholders in the agric sector, including the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Bank of Industry (BOI).

The programme is aimed at concentrating agro-processing activities in demarcated areas to boost productivity and integrate production, processing and marketing of selected commodities.

Akande said Osinbajo was briefed on the progress of the project in a meeting attended by Mohammed Nanono, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, and Niyi Adebayo, his counterpart in the Industry, Trade and Investment Ministry.

Under the programme, the federal government will demarcate areas across the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to establish about 140 agro-processing centres.

He said the centres will be provided with basic infrastructure such as water, electricity and roads as well as facilities for skills training, while small-holder farmers in the catchment areas will be linked to markets across the value chain.

Akande said seven states — Ogun, Oyo, Imo, Cross River, Kano, Kaduna, Kwara — and the FCT have been selected for the first phase of the project.

Speaking on the progress recorded so far, Toda Atsuko, AfDB’s acting Vice-President, Agriculture, Human and Social Development, said the bank in collaboration with other stakeholders is ready to start the first phase of the SAPZ programme, having completed a joint appraisal mission across the 36 states.

Atsuko commended the administration of Presidential Muhammadu Buhari for its efforts, adding that the plan will create jobs, and leverage technology with significant youth participation.

“I am very pleased to see that work has advanced and quite a bit is already being done. There is a need to synergize really concretely with Green Imperative (which is the partnership with the Brazilians), I think there are areas where these two programmes can complement each other,” he said.


Industrial Training Fund

ITF to Train Seven Million on Agric, Construction, Others

As a way of saving the country from its rising unemployment and poverty rates, the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) has said that it is set to train over seven million Nigerians in the areas of agriculture, construction and facility maintenance, information and communication technology, manufacturing and services between 2021 and 2031.

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Disclosing this in Jos during an interactive session with the journalists, the Director General of ITF, Sir Joseph Ari noted that, “skill acquisition remains the most sustainable solution to increasing poverty and unemployment, and the catalyst to economic growth and development.”

According to him, the ITF was among the few agencies requested by the federal government to forward submissions on lifting of 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years.

“If our proposal, which is currently receiving attention of the authorities, is assented to, the ITF will train over seven million Nigerians in the Agriculture, construction and facility maintenance, information and communication technology, manufacturing and services sector between 2021 and 2031.”

He said that the Fund has implemented several skills intervention programmes, including the National Industrial Skills Development Programme (NISDP), Special Skills Development Programme (SSDP), Federal Government Skills Empowerment Programme (FEGOSEP), Info-Tech Skills Empowerment Programme (ISEP), and Agric-preneurship Training Programme (ATP) with which it has trained thousands of Nigerians that were empowered with start-up packs to set up on their own.

He added, “This year, which we have declared as the year of ” skills Escalation for Prosperity”, we have commenced processes for the implementation of more skills intervention programmes namely: the National Industrial Skills Development Programme (NISDP), the Skills Training and Empowerment Programme for the Physical Challenged (STEPP-C), the Construction Skills Empowerment Programme (CONSEP), the Passion to Profession Programme ( P2PP), and the Agri- preneurship Training Programme (ATP).

He added that the programmes would train about 12,000 Nigerians between three and six months in web design and programming, advance computer networking, mobile app development, iron bending, masonry, crop production, aquaculture, air-conditioning and refrigeration, plumbing, GSM repairs and ladies wig cap making.

Ari added that, in appreciation of their efforts to equip Nigerians with requisite skills and contributions to the development of the Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) sector in Nigeria, ITF was named as a member of the steering committee of the federal government to drive the implementation of the various support schemes for MSMEs in the country as part of the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic as part of Government’s social investment programmes under Economic Sustainability Plan.



Agricultural Development Fund Coming.

Nigerian farmers may soon have multiple access to funds for cultivation and other activities as a new National Agricultural Development Fund is coming.

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The new Fund, when it is established will draw funding from Nigeria’s annual budget from which it is expected to support the country’s agricultural sector.

The bill to establish the fund was passed by Senate on Wednesday following the consideration of the report of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development.

When the bill is assented by President Muhammadu Buhari, the federal government will be compelled to allocate 10 percent of its national budget to agrucultura development in line with the MAPUTO declaration of 2003.

Presenting the report, Chairman of the Committee, Senator Abdullahi Adamu (APC, Nasarawa West) explained that the purpose for the establishment of the Fund is to provide finance to support the strategic aspect of Agricultural Development in Nigeria.

He observed that to date, Nigeria is yet to fully implement the 2003 MAPUTO Declaration on Agriculture requiring States Parties to allocate 10 percent of its National budget to Agricultural Development.

“If this was done, Agricultural Research and Development, Food Production and Food Security would have witnessed a major leap”, Adamu said.

The Fund is to provide emergency support funding for Agricultural control access to finance trans-boundary animal disease outbreak; as well as support service through micro finance and collaborate with development partners to support food security and Agricultural modernization.

It addresses key binding constraints to complete transition from subsistence farming to modern Agriculture capable of generating inclusive growth and economic diversification.

There are several intervention programmes for agriculture sector especially in the banking industry administered by the Central Bank of Nigeria and it is expected that the new Agric development fund when it is eventually established will be complimentary.