Ogun State Government has expressed its readiness to ensure a friendly environment for private agribusinesses to thrive in the state, in a bid to improve the state’s agricultural sector and create jobs for its citizens.
Governor of Ogun State, Dapo Abiodun, while addressing private investors and delegates from the African Development Bank (AfDB), in a meeting at the Governor’s office in Abeokuta, reiterated the commitment of his administration towards improving the livelihood of its citizens through agriculture.
The Governor who indicated that the agricultural sector plays a significant role to the development of the state, said, “We are geographically and advantageously located with arable land that is ready for cultivation. We are looking for every partnership and collaboration that can drive the agricultural sector.”
On the AfDB’s Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZ) initiative, Governor Abiodun stated that the state is ready to key into the project, adding that it will provide the necessary requirements, expected of it, to see to the success of the project.
He further noted that his administration is looking forward to involving more youths in the agricultural sector, on a massive scale, through the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) Anchors Borrowers Scheme.
On his part, Professor Oyebanji Oyelaran-Oyeyinka, the leader of the AfDB delegates and Senior Special Adviser to the AfDB President, Dr Akinwunmi Adesina, while commending the governor for making out time to meet with the delegates, said that the plan of the AfDB is to initiate the SAPZs project in every state in Nigeria so as to create jobs on a massive scale, alleviate poverty and reduce the inequities between urban and rural settlements.
Prof Oyebanji said it is unfortunate that Nigeria’s agricultural sector isn’t meeting up with international expectations, while also adding that the country can do much more to turn the tide. According to him, it is for this reason that the AfDB is partnering with Chinese expatriates who are willing to invest in Nigeria.
Among the expatriates present at the meeting were, Ms. Liyuan JIA, co-founder IESCO Consulting Service Ltd, Beijing; Professor Zhihai Zhao, Chief Expert and Director of Millet Research Institute Zhangiiakou Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Mr. Zhen Yang, Chairman Chasesun Com. Ltd; Ms. Zeng, Project Manager, Belt and Road Working Commission, China Council; among others.
The SAPZ project is an AfDB initiative designed to promote agro-processing activities in areas of high agricultural potential and to provide millions of youth and rural dwellers with employment and entrepreneurship opportunities thereby increasing productivity and competitiveness.