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Staple Crop Processing Zones to add N1.4tri to Nigeria's economy – Minister

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WorldStage Newsonline– Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina has said that the Staple Crop Processing Zones will add N1.4 trillion to the GDP of the country.

Speaking in Abuja at the inauguration of the Executive Leadership of the Nigeria AgriBusiness Group, he said the SCPZs will help to create 250,000 jobs across the country, with Cargill; the world’s number one food company investing N33 billion.

According to the minister, Nigeria’s food import bill, which has dropped from N2.3 trillion down to N1.8 trillion within the past two years, will continue to decline through local production, processing and value addition, adding that agriculture will no longer be treated as a development program, but as a business.

He said: “We have been very clear from the beginning, that agriculture will not be treated any longer as a development program, but as a business. We will no longer manage poverty with agriculture. We will use agriculture to create the future millionaires and billionaires of Nigeria. We are determined to change the fortunes of our farmers, for the poverty we see today must give way to wealth all across our rural areas, as we make agriculture a business that helps to lift millions of farmers out of poverty.

“Four weeks ago, we launched the SCPZ in Alape, Kogi state. The Alape SCPZ is expected to become a centre of excellence in processing of cassava fresh roots into starch, sweeteners and sorbitol. Next week, we are launching the SCPZs in Niger and Kano states, to be followed by SCPZs in Enugu/Anambra, Lagos and River States.

“The SCPZs are expected to add an additional 1.4 trillion Naira to the GDP of Nigeria. They will help to create 250,000 jobs across the country. Cargill, the world’s number one food company will be investing N33 billion.

The minister explained that the number of seed companies grew from 11 to 77 in two years with investment from the private sector.

He said, “The input sector agribusinesses are expanding rapidly. The number of seed companies grew from 11 to 77 within two years. Syngenta, Monsanto and Dupont, the three largest seed companies in the world have committed to establishing seed companies in Nigeria due to our successes with the agribusiness approach. The success of the Growth Enhancement Scheme has led to the emergence of over 3,000 small and medium agribusinesses in input supply chain all over the country.

“Local fertilizer manufacturing and blending capacity has significantly expanded, with $5 billion in new investments. To fix the storage segment for all value chains, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development attracted Blumberg, one of the largest manufacturers of warehouses in the world, to commit to using Nigeria as the regional hub for manufacturing warehouses in West Africa.

“The Nigeria Agribusiness Group is a high powered organized private sector group comprised of all value chain stakeholders, from the input suppliers to aggregators, food processors, marketers and consumers. The group will help to ensure that the ongoing reforms of the agriculture sector are protected and sustained. They will also work closely with the government to improve further the business environment for agriculture.

“The launching today of the Nigerian Agribusiness Executive Leadership Group is therefore a timely event. This group will help to move forward the agenda on agribusiness development in Nigeria. With the leadership of Nigerian Agribusiness Group, I am confident that our food import bill, which has dropped from N2.3 trillion down to N1.8 trillion within the past two years, will continue to decline, as we encourage local production, processing and value addition.”

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