Governors of the 36 states of the Federation met with officials of the AFDB Wednesday, in Abuja, where they discussed taking over 50 million people out of poverty in Nigeria, through investment in Agriculture on the continent.
This was disclosed at a meeting between top officials of the AFDB and the governors where they met to discuss the establishment of Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones in the country.
The meeting which was at the instance of the officials of the AFDB was held at the secretariat of the NGF in Maitama Abuja and chaired by the Vice Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum, Rt Hon Aminu Waziri Tambuwal of Sokoto State, while the delegation of the AFDB was led by Prof Oyebanji Oyeyinka, Snr Special Adviser to the president of the AFDB
The aim o the meeting was bringing together the farming and the processing community of the country to add value to the produce that God has endowed Nigeria with, which farmers have been producing at great cost.
It is a USD 1bn investment in Nigeria over the next 3 years according to the AFDB officials. The result of this investment is expected to be a quick impact and quick results venture which NIRSAL, NIPC and several other Nigerian investment outfits are already gearing to partner in.
Specifically, this engagement was aimed at knowing where governors are able to tell where the potentials can be tapped and for the investors to easily position themselves to take advantage of the opportunities available in those areas.
As long as we enforce the rules and do business regularly, we should be able to do business one of the governors at the meeting explained, insisting that to remove mass poverty, unemployment and hunger in Nigeria such projects must be encouraged to take firm root in the country.
The Chairman of the occasion, disclosed that Governors will establish a full value chain arrangement at the subnational level and emphasized that all states of the federation are on the table for this as this is going to give great impetus to states’ desire for greater productivity and employment among the country’s youths, Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal said.
Kebbi Governor, Senator Atiku Bagudu argued for a situation where payment of loans can be done with produce to lighten the credit risk on the venture. He said further that “States are keen on taking advantage of what you have to offer but we must be sensitive to the burden that this brings and devise ways of easing the burden on the farmer because, “the more you generate growth the more credit risk drops.”
Payment with produce could lighten the burden on the farmer and the country in general, he said, adding that it is sensible to seek partnerships that can last, while making reference to the US-China situation where the partnership between the two countries is gradually becoming sour.
On his part, Governor Akeredolu of Ondo state requested that the projected takes cognizance of situations where land for the SAPZ between two states can be contiguous and allow such to be utilized seamlessly. He alo talked about the security of the investor and added that “We are ready to ensure that all investors in our states are secure.”
Several governors and Deputy Governors were in attendance. The Chairman of the NGF Dr Kayode Fayemi was represented by his Secretary to the State Government while Anambra state governor was represented by his commissioner for Agric.