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Rivers may have rejoined national food security scheme

Written by silvernewsng

By Ignatius Chukwu

In the recent past, Rivers State was hardly found in any national programme or scheme, since being more glaring in the past 10 years. Now, things seem to change. The state has joined the Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zone (SPAZ) Two Assessment Programme.

Details:

Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has reiterated that agriculture remains one of the key priority areas of his administration.

He, therefore, stated that adequate steps have been taken to ensure the realisation of the vision of unlocking the food potential of the state agricultural sector through public, private partnership (PPP). 

Governor Fubara stated this during the Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zone (SPAZ) Two Assessment Programme of the Federal Government, supervised by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture in conjunction with African Development Bank (AfDB), with the theme: “Industrialization of Agricultural Sector for Inclusive Economic Growth”, held in Port Harcourt on Tuesday.

The Governor, who was represented by the Rivers State Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr Victor Kii, noted the state’s abundant fertile land, water resources and vibrant agricultural commodities, which place the state in advantageous position for partnership and investment in the agro-processing sector.

He said, “Our state is blessed with fertile land, abundant water resources and a vibrant agricultural commodity.

“As a Government, our Governor has made agriculture one of the key priorities of his administration. He has taken very decivise, concrete steps to translating this to reality,” he said. 

Accordingly, his policy direction in respect to the Ministry of Agriculture is a public private partnership arrangement. So, I urge you all to explore the potential for public, private partnership and investment opportunity in our agro-processing sector,” he stated.

The Governor asserted that the tripod collaboration is a testament of the state government’s commitment to promote sustainable development and economic growth.

He also expressed optimism that the implementation of the SAPZ Two in the state will help to harness the state’s agricultural resources, create employment opportunities and boost agricultural industries.

He said, “This collaboration between the Federal Government and the African Development Bank and our state is a testament to our shared commitment to promoting sustainable development and the economic growth of the state.

“As a major boost, the implementation of the Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zone Two programme will harness our agricultural resources to draw innovation, create employment opportunities for our youths and boost the agricultural industries in our state,” he added.

In his remarks, the leader of the Federal Government delegation and National Coordinator of Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zone Two, Dr Yusuf Kabir, said the programme focuses on boosting agriculture for industrialization for the growth of the nation’s economy in line with the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Bola Tinubu.

Represented by the Financial Controller, SAPZ, Temitope Olaiwola, Dr Kabir, said with the phase one of the programme started in 2022 in seven states and the FCT, and lessons learnt from the implementation, the team was in Rivers State to assess the level of preparedness for the phase two of the project. 

“As we are aware, the major focus of Renewed Hope Agenda of this government is agriculture. And until agriculture is industrialized, we go nowhere. And that is the full focus of SAPZ.

“It is not enough for us to produce, but it is important for us to industrialize our production, the value chain is preserved and ensure that our economy moves forward and improves the lives of our people at the end of the day.

“We started the phase one of SAPZ in 2022 in seven states and the FCT. Although we experienced a lot of implementation delay, we have a lot of lessons learnt. And based on the lessons learnt in implementing the programme in the pilot states, we decided to go into second phase.

“Therefore, I can say the states coming onboard the second phase, they are not disadvantaged states, because all the lessons learnt in implementing phase one will be used to improve on running phase two states,” he noted.

Also speaking, the representative of the African Development Bank, Ms Monde Nyambe, expressed the bank’s commitment to ensure that SAPZ Two is also implemented in Rivers State.

Nyambe, who is the Task Team Leader of the Nigeria SAPZ programme, noted that the presentations by the state government and discussions are to ensure the state’s eligibility to participate in phase two of the programme.

In his vote of thanks, Head of Livestock and Veterinary Services, Rivers State Ministry of Agriculture, Dr Godswill Ukoikpoko, thanked the Federal Government and the African Development Bank for choosing Rivers State for the second phase of the SPAZ programme, at a time the state government is giving agriculture desired attention, assuring of the state’s readiness to sustain the programme.

Highpoints of the programme were presentations of Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA), General and Financial Feasibility reports as well as Detailed Engineering Drawings by consultants which are prerequisite for the state’s eligibility for onboarding the programme.

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