by Ranti Joseph
The Federal Executive Council on Wednesday, February 11, approved a National Policy on Staple Crops Processing Zones for the agriculture sector and a bill for the National Agency for the Great Green Wall for the environment sector.
The National Policy on Staple Crops Processing Zones is an instrument to guide the development, management, and operation of the processing zones which are central for Nigeria’s drive for rapid diversification of the economy via agriculture.
The policy guidelines will also be promoting public and private sector investment in infrastructure development such as roads, power, water, ICT land clearing as well as ensuring price stabilisation mechanisms to balance demand and supply gaps of available raw materials.
It will also ensure that programme funding get support through public sector, budgetary allocations, development financing, donor agencies, and financial guarantees amongst others
Governor of Kogi state, Idris Wada, who pioneered the setting up of a staple crops processing zone in Alape, Kabba Bunu local council area of the state, along with the Minister of Agriculture, Akinwunmi Adesina, briefed State House correspondents on the food processing bill.
Wada explained that he had allocated 15 hectares of land for the project which is expected to provide about 10 job opportunities to people of the state.
He said: “Kogi is the pioneer staple crop processing zone for cassava. We have cassava processing zone in Alape in Kabba-Bunu local government area of Kogi state. We have been working closely with the federal Ministry of Agriculture on this project. We have allocated 15,000 hectares of land, perimeter surveys have been done.”
He said that the local communities are happy about the project in partnership with Tagel and that environmental and social work is going on.
“The interests of small holder-farmers are accommodated in the whole project. Settlers in the area are not going to be disrupted; the World Bank is involved so everything is done to international standard. We believe that this will transform the rural economy of the Kabba-Bunu local government area and adjourning local government in Kogi State. There will be massive jobs opportunities where it is estimated that at least 10,000 jobs will be created when this project takes off fully,” he added.
Wada further explained that it would encourage young people to go into agriculture and quality of life and other opportunities will spring forth from the cassava staple crop processing zone.
“As a pioneer project, our government has shown very firm commitments and political will for the success of this project and we will do everything to make sure that the project succeeds,” he explained.
Concerning the Great Green Wall Authority bill, Minister of Environment, Laurencia Laraba Mallam, explained that the projects covers 11 frontline states in the northern part of the country prone to desertification. Some of the states include: Borno, Kebbi, Adamawa, Bauchi, Gombe, Sokoto, Zamfara, Katsina, Kano, Jigawa and Yobe and it will also cover 305 communities across 46 local government councils.
When passed into law the draft bill will control further land degradation within the arid region of Nigeria; generate employment; reduce social conflicts especially between farmers and cattle herdsmen; produce and export agriculture zone and beef up the Nigerian food security drive as well as enhance the capacity of the capacity of the communities comprising of over 40 million people to improve their resilience to climate change and climate variability that threatens the livelihoods.