The African Development Bank (AfDB) has granted the Kogi State government $100 million loan to finance some Special Agro – Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZ) projects in the state.
Asiru Idris, the state Commissioner for Finance and Budget Planning, made the disclosure on Tuesday in Lokoja, the state capital, during a stakeholders meeting on environmental and social impact assessment of the proposed SAPZ and associated developments.
According to Idris, the project has the potential to bridge the existing gap between production and need, create employment for two million people in the state and create opportunities for private investors.
The commissioner further noted that 280 hectares of land would be acquired for the project across five local government areas of the state including; Kabba/Bunu, Okehi, Adavi, Ijumu and Lokoja, explaining that the choice of the local government areas would benefit farmers, processors, aggregators and distributors to operate almost in the same vicinity as it would reduce transaction costs and allow for shared business development services for increased productivity and competitiveness.
On his part, David Apeh, the Commissioner for Agriculture, assured that the SAPZ project will attract infrastructure like water, road, energy, ICT and others to the host communities and urged residents to foster peace and focus on the end benefits of the projects.
Highlighting details of the project, Bassey Uzodinma, one of the project coordinators, divulged that SAPZ is an integrated development initiative, designed to concentrate on agro-processing activities within areas of high agricultural potential and dedicated towards boosting productivity, integrating production, processing and marketing of selected commodities.
The project, he said, will be executed and completed over a period of three and half years, adding that the execution of the project must comply with AfDB’s standard requirement, environmental and social safeguard that will benefit the entire state and generations yet unborn.