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The government of Oyo State has said that it will ensure an all- round success of the African Development Bank- backed Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zone located in the state.
The state government, which spoke through the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mrs Olubamiwo Adeosun, stated that the administration will continue to give necessary support to ensure the success of the SAPZ.
While speaking at a workshop on the operation of SAPZ project by the United Kingdom Nigeria Infrastructure Advisory Facility (UKNIAF), Adeosun said that the state was determined to expand its economy via the agribusiness value chain.
A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Seyi Makinde, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, quoted Adeosun as stating this at the Senior Level Engagement and Strategic Case Workshop in respect of the Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zone (SAPZ) project by the United Kingdom Nigeria Infrastructure Advisory Facility, held at the Bon Hotel, Bodija, Ibadan.
She maintained that Oyo State is privileged to have been selected as one of the pioneer states for the Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zone, saying that the project will give room for structural transformation in agriculture.
According to the SSG, “a project to the tune of $210million, that can impact some 1.5 million households and create not less than 400,000 direct jobs and 1.6 million indirect jobs across the six states in its phase 1, is not one that we are ready to toy with.”
She hinted that the present administration will continue to develop the three farm products including cassava, soybean and rice as requested by African Development Bank (AfDB) to expand the state’s economy.
She said: “It gives me a great pleasure to be in your midst today for this preliminary meeting of the Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zone (Pre-SAPZ) workshop.
“Let me on behalf of the government and the good people of Oyo State, heartily welcome you to this gathering.
“It is one gathering whose aim is targeted at one of the main pillars of the government of Oyo State-expansion of the economy via the agribusiness value chain.
“As it has been stated, the Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zone, which Oyo State is privileged to have been selected as one of the pioneer states, is a government-enabled private sector-led initiative, which the President of African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr. Akinwumi Adesina described as a critical way to have ‘structural transformation’ in agriculture.
“Since the inception of the current administration in Oyo State, His Excellency, Governor Seyi Makinde has made it clear that the state will run on its competitive and comparative advantages. He has also unfolded a four-point service agenda, which captures what has come to be seen as the totality of human existential realities, encapsulating Security, Health, Education and Economic expansion using agribusiness value chain.”
The SSG explained that that the Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zone, will not only boost economic activities through agribusiness but also help to engage teeming youths in the state.
She added: “Oyo State, which is almost the same size as the South East zone of the country, undoubtedly has land as its prized asset, especially land that is not only fertile for agricultural purposes, but also rich in solid minerals.
“Thus, the coming of an SAPZ will not only be of added value to our quest for economic boost through agribusiness but also help to engage our teeming youths who are yearning to hit the rooftops with enormous talents in the various agricultural fields.
“From the initial remarks by the AfDB, we are made to understand that Oyo State is one of the six states in the phase 1 of the SAPZ which is aimed at mobilizing private sector investment in the development of agro-industrial /agricultural transformation centres.
“Already, the state has taken the lead in provision of enabling environment to enhance effectiveness of this initiative by developing agribusiness industrial hubs across the state.
“Already, work is progressing at a fast pace at the Fashola Agribusiness Industrial hub, while similar efforts are also afoot at the Akufo and Eruwa Agribusiness hubs, formerly christened farm estates.”
Adeosun said that according to the template provided by the AfDB, Oyo State is listed as a state to augment the value chain of three farm products including cassava, soybean and rice.
She assured that Oyo state will not just stop at developing the three products mentioned above, but will expand the scope using its budding youthful talents.
She added 10,000 youths in the state are already undergoing training in the various fields of agribusiness under the Youth Agricultural Empowerment Programme (YEAP) to ensure an all-round success of the SAPZ.
She further told the gathering:”I am happy to get the report that your team is readily working with the Oyo State Agribusiness Development Programme (OYSADA), headed by its Director General, Dr. Debo Akande.
“I can assure you that the good working relationship already facilitated with our government and team members of the United Kingdom Nigeria Infrastructure Advisory Facility (UKNIAF) can only get better.
“Let me state clearly that the government of Oyo State will continue to do all that is necessary to see to the success of this programme.
“Just as we are told that you are adopting a collaborative approach, we are equally ready to collaborate with you for positive impacts on our people.
“In line with the vision of the AfDB, which facilitated the SAPZ initiative, we in Oyo State look forward to a huge leap in our state’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) with the successes expected to be recorded by this initiative.