By Miriam Humbe
The Federal Government is to partner with the private sector in the development of Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZ) aimed at ensuring sustainable food security, economic growth as well as promote jobs creation and wealth generation.
Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Amb. Mariam Yalwaji Katagum stated this during a meeting on the development of Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones with a team from Messrs. Kikachukwu Agricultural Enterprise Limited led by the Managing Director, Prince Clement N. Okonjo in her office .
The Minister stated that the Government was determined to intensify the diversification of the economy through Agro-Industrial Processing Zone Programme while specific policies have been formulated by the Ministry to support value chains in the Agriculture sector.
Amb. Katagum added that “It has therefore become imperative to partner with private sector and development partners with a view to leveraging and catalyzing resources for diversification and growth in the agro-processing industry”.
She noted that Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zone (SAPZ) concept is 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 the same cluster zone.
The Minister added that the idea for establishment of the zones was to attract private investments into the huge opportunity available in modern agricultural production, agro-processing and marketing.
Amb. Katagum further said that the Presidential directive to establish Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones in every senatorial district initiative is an avenue to revamp and expand the sector in order to ensure we can be self-sufficient in producing what we can eat and possibly export.
Director, Industrial Development Department in the Ministry, Mr. Adewale Bakare re-emphasized on the need for governments to partner with committed private investor towards the development of the Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zone.
Project Consultant of Messrs. Kikachukwu Agricultural Enterprise Limited, Prince Peaceman Okonjo stated that his company was established in 1977 with an initial business of importation and sale of poultry equipment and day-old chicks; leveraging opportunities in the Nigerian Agro- allied sector, the company expanded its activities by building an integrated and mechanized poultry business.
The Project Consultant highlighted some of the technical assets of the company which included a full functional 1.5 tons per hour feed mill and warehouse capable of holding 600 tons of feed milling materials situated on 3 acres of land; hatchery complex building for housing the hatching equipment (setters and incubators) capable of setting and hatching up to 570,000 eggs, eight poultry houses with the capacity for holding up to 56,000 commercial and parent stock birds among others.