By Rotimi Odofin

Kogi State is poised to establish a Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zone (SAPZ), according to Governor Ahmed Usman Ododo.

The state government, he said, is fully committed to meeting all necessary requirements for the successful implementation of this initiative.

Governor Ododo made this announcement during a meeting with a delegation from the Africa Development Bank (AfDB) and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security.

The delegation had recently conducted an assessment tour of potential project sites in Kogi State.

The SAPZ project, a collaborative effort between the AfDB, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, and the Kogi State Government, aims to attract substantial foreign and domestic private sector investments to the state.

Governor Ododo disclosed that the state government has already designated 254 hectares of land in Ukpake, Ajaokuta local government area for the establishment of the special agro-industrial processing zone.

This location, he disclosed, was chosen due to its strategic positioning near essential resources such as water supply, electricity, gas, a railway line connecting Kogi to other states, and the proposed international cargo airport in Adogo.

Assuring the delegation of the state government’s full support, Governor Ododo emphasized the administration’s commitment to industrialization and ensuring food security through agricultural investment.

He highlighted the potential benefits of investing in the agricultural value chain, including increased productivity, improved market access for farmers, and job creation for the state’s population.

In his remarks, Dr. Bashir Ibrahim Gaya who led the AfDB delegation said the assessment tour is intended to verify the readiness of states to be selected in the 2nd phase for establishment of the Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZ) in Nigeria, which he noted are being implemented in 18 countries across Africa.

He revealed that the initial phase of the project in Nigeria, which includes seven states along with the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, has already begun.

Additionally, he mentioned that the team is currently in Kogi to evaluate the state’s preparedness to potentially benefit from the second phase of the project.

The state commissioner for finance, budget, and economic planning, Asiwaju Ashiru Idris, expressed the state government’s strong commitment to ensuring the success of the project.

Similarly, Mr. Timothy Ojomah, the counterpart in the ministry of agriculture and food security, emphasized that the proposed agro-industrial processing facility will receive ample support from the state Agricultural Transformation Centres in Alape, Anyigba, and Osara, ensuring a consistent supply of raw materials and semi-processed agricultural produce.

The establishment of the Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zone is set to focus on processing maize, cassava, rice, palm oil, cashew, sugarcane, and fish. This aligns with Governor Ododo’s vision to elevate Kogi State into a prominent agro-industrial hub.

In conclusion, Governor Ododo reiterated the state government’s dedication to creating a conducive environment for the successful implementation of the SAPZ project, underscoring the importance of this initiative in driving economic growth and development in Kogi State.

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