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Buhari hails $538.05m provision to Nigeria for special agro-processing zones by AfDB, others

President Muhammadu Buhari has welcomed the provision of $538.05 million by the African Development Bank, the Islamic Development Bank and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) for the first phase of the Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZ) for Nigeria programme. Buhari made the disclosure yesterday in his goodwill message to the Feed Africa Summit of Heads of State and Government held in Dakar, Senegal.

The President, who urged his colleagues to demonstrate political will and re-commit themselves to transformation of agriculture in the continent, said Africans have the capacity to feed themselves and still export surplus food items to the rest of the world. According to a statement by his spokesman, Femi Adesina, the President listed measures that African leaders must take to change the status quo with rising inflation globally and the effects of the Russia-Ukraine conflict that have driven up food prices, especially for basic staples such as wheat and maize. ‘‘Feeding Africa is an imperative.

We must ensure that we feed ourselves today, tomorrow, and well into the future. Thestartingpointisto raise agricultural productivity. This requires the access of farmers to quality farm inputs, especially improved seeds, and fertilisers and mechanisation. “To succeed, we must strongly support farmers. There is no doubt that we need to subsidise our farmers; but we must do so in ways that remove rent-seeking behaviour and effectively deliver support to farmers. “Let us decisively ensure that we meet the 10 per cent allocation of our budgets to agriculture as agreed in the Malabo Declaration of the African Heads of State and Government.”

On SAPZ funding, President Buhari said he was pleased with the partnership approach used for Nigeria by the multilateral financing institutions: the African Development Bank providing $210 million, the Islamic Development Bank and the International Fund for Agricultural Development providing $310 million, and the Government of Nigeria providing $18.05 million. President Buhari also used the occasion to call for affordable financing to support smallholder and commercial farmers, underscoring the need for dedicated financing windows from the central banks. He commended Dr Akinwunmi Adesina, President of the AfDB for the vision to drive the summit together with the African Union Commission.

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