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Agriculture: Bauchi Organize Stakeholders Engagement On Proposed SAPZ Phase II Project

The Bauchi State Government through the State Ministry of Agriculture has sensitized stakeholders in the state on the Proposed Bauchi State Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zone (SAPZ), Phase II project that aims at revolutionizing agricultural practices as well as boosting food sufficiency, exports of processed raw agricultural commodities leading to job creation and overall economic growth in the state.

Recall that in October 2022, the Federal Government and African Development Bank, alongside co-financing partners, the Islamic Development Bank and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), launched the first phase of the $538 million Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZ) programme in Nigeria. The first set of states under phase I of the Program (Cross River, Imo, Kaduna, Kano, Ogun, Kwara, Ogun, Oyo), have satisfied all conditions for disbursement and are progressing.

Speaking at the event at Bauchi State Agricultural Development Project (BSADP) office, the state Commissioner of Agriculture, Professor, Simon Madugu Yalams said that SAPZ is one of the projects introduced by the African Development Bank (ADB).

Represented by the Special Adviser to Governor Bala Mohammed of the state on Agriculture, Iliyasu Aliyu Gital, the Commissioner explained that the aim of the workshop was to raise awareness of the SAPZ programme, demonstrate political will and enhance the understanding of the role of key actors involved in the implementation process.

SAPZ programme was designed to stimulate private sector interest, drive a market-oriented agricultural transformation and help develop modern agro-processing capacity across the continent, adding that the ultimate objective is to foster structural transformation of the Nigerian economy by transforming rural poles of misery to productive zones of prosperity.

“The purpose of the Workshop today is to sensitize the stakeholders, the farmers, communities that are going to benefit to know that the project is coming.The Workshop will also give the participants the opportunity to know what is expected of them and their environment, particularly at this time when the project is taking into consideration, environmental assessment.

“Any project has environmental impact, therefore, we want to assess the negative impact the project is going to cause to the environment, what are the environmental issues that may arise, we will discuss them, if there is any other problem with the project, we will know how to mitigate them”

“If there is anything that may pose as a challenge to communities in future, we will bring it up today so that we can trash it, the community will know that as a result of this project, things are going to happen but we have also devised a way of mitigating them” he said

Aliyu Gital said that Bauchi state is among the two states selected from the six states of the Northeast that will work together with the consultant to ensure that all the standard set for the project are met.

Also Speaking the Minister of the Federal Ministry of Environment, Balarabe Abass lawal stated that the implementation of the special agro-industrial processing project would be done through a public-private partnership framework where the public sector provides an enabling environment while the private sector drives the program.

Represented by the Director Environmental Impact Assessment, Mr A.B Minna said that the Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZ) project will unlock the opportunities for food security, job security and increase the contribution of the sector to the GDP.

He said the project is designed to diversify the country’s economy by changing agriculture to becoming a profitable economic venture, adding that the government is determined to give unprecedented attention to agriculture and food security, through initiatives like the Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZ) project.

He urged the stakeholders to ensure that all hands are on deck to ensure a successful implementation of the program in the state even as he commended Governor Bala Mohammed and the ministry of Agriculture for their commitment and political will towards the success of the Project.

The Minister stated that with the support of the African Development Bank, the state will be empowered to create a safer and more conducive environment for their citizens, pointing out it will not only attract investments but also foster sustainable economic growth in the state.

“The reason why the ministry of environment is fully represented here, is to receive inputs from stakeholders in the workshop, their concerns as well challenges that may arise as result of the citing of the project in the state, particularly the rural communities.The inputs made here will be collated and then we will come up with our impact assessment plan” he said

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