By Joshua Olomu
Abuja, Oct. 20, 2020 Amb. Mariam Katagum, the Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment says the Federal Government is willing to partner with the private sector in the development of Special Argo-Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZs).
Katagum said this during a meeting on the development of SAPZs with a team of experts from Kikachukwu Agricultural Enterprise Ltd. led by its Managing Director, Mr Clement Okonjo. on Tuesday in Abuja.
According to her, the initiative is aimed at ensuring sustainable food security, economic growth as well as promoting job creation and income generation.
She said that the ministry has formulated specific policies to support value chains in the Agriculture sector, as government was determined to intensify the diversification of the economy through the SAPZs Programme .
“It has therefore become imperative to partner with private sector and development partners with a view to leveraging and catalysing resources for diversification and growth in the agro-processing industry.
“The idea for establishment of the zones is to attract private investments into the huge opportunity available in modern agricultural production, agro-processing and marketing.
“The presidential directive to establish Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones in every senatorial district is an avenue to revamp and expand the sector to ensure self-sufficiency in producing what we can eat and possibly export.”
Katagum said that the SAPZs concept was 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 one place.
She therefore 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 of Industrial Development Department in the ministry, Mr Adewale Bakare stressed the need for governments to partner with committed private investors toward the development of the SAPZs.
In his presentation, Mr Peaceman Okonjo, the Project Consultant of Kikachukwu Agricultural Enterprise Ltd., said that the company had expanded its activities by building an integrated and mechanised poultry business.
According to him, the company has the capacity and is ready to partner with the Federal Government in the SAPZs project.
Okonjo said the technical assets of the company included a full functional 1.5 tonnes per hour feed mill and warehouse capable of holding 600 tonnes of feed milling materials situated on a three acres of land.
He said other assets included a hatchery complex building for housing hatching equipment (setters and incubators) capable of setting and hatching up to 570,000 eggs.
According to him, other assets included eight poultry houses with the capacity for holding up to 56,000 commercial and parent stock birds, among others.
He however identified government policies, political climate and inadequate funding as some challenges facing the sector over the years.
The project consultant lauded the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration efforts at developing the agro allied sector, adding that the sector would create jobs for Nigerian youths.