Governors of Nigeria's North West States have held talks with the African Development Bank (AfDB) President Akinwumi Adesina on the reinforcement of their partnership
in agriculture, the AfDB revealed.
The Nigerian delegation comprised the governors of the country's Katsina State, Mallam Dikko Umar Radda; Kebbi State, Nasiru Idris; Jigawa State, Alhaji Umar Namadi; Zamfara State, Dauda Lawal and deputy governors from Nigeria's Kano State, Aminu Abdussalam; Kaduna State, Hadiza Sabuwa Balarabe; Sokoto State, Idris Mohammed Gobir, the bank said.
According to the bank, among the topics the sides discussed were enhancing food production, security and nutrition, and the implementation of Special Agro-industrial Processing Zones (SAPZs), which kicked off in Nigeria in October 2022 and aim to improve strategic commodity value chains via government and private sector investments.
Adesina highlighted that Nigeria received over $1 billion to expand the SAPZ program to help about 25 of the country's 36 states, calling the governors to work together and select fast agricultural centers to host the programs, AfDB noted.
"These zones will benefit local farmers and create jobs throughout the value chains. They will provide unprecedented opportunities to transform commodities into high-value products, reduce waste and post-harvest losses, boost incomes, increase profits, and plough money back into your rural economies," the president of the bank added.
In addition, he emphasized the potential of the North Western states in meat processing.
"I would like us to have a substantive conversation about establishing beef processing zones in the North West zone," Adesina underlined.
The deputy governor of the Kaduna State expressed his hopes that the special agro-industrial processing zones will help the region
"overcome many challenges" and assist in achieving "food self-sufficiency, job and wealth creation, and subsequently boost economic growth, especially the rural economy," the bank revealed.
Moreover, according to the AfDB, the Bank Group’s Africa Emergency Food Production Facility targeted around $134 million in financing to support the National Agriculture Growth Scheme (Agro-Pocket or NAGS) in Nigeria
, whose goal is to boost wheat and rice production during the 2023 dry season and through the 2024 wet season in five states. The scheme will help reduce some of the country’s current $3 billion expenditure on wheat imports.
Alongside the mentioned initiatives, the AfDB's $20 billion renewable energy program Desert-to-Power, which is designed to deliver 10,000MW of solar energy to nearly 250 million people across the Sahel region, was also on the agenda of the meeting.
The 2022 Global Report on Food Crises stated that around 140 million people in Africa face acute food insecurity, worsened by the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, inflation and debts. However, Adesina noted in late September that the food insecurity on the continent will be surmounted within
the next five years.
Apart from agriculture, AfDB is also cooperating with Nigeria in the energy sector. In mid September, the country's Minister of Power Adebayo Adelabu said that the bank reaffirmed its commitment
to allocate $250 million for the Nigerian Electrification Project (NEP) which looks to deliver energy access to unserved and underserved communities across the country