As parts of its concerted effort to make food sufficient in Africa, African Development Bank (AfDB) has declared its support for Ogun State government’s Agropreneurs programmes.
The President of AfDB, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina disclosed this on Friday when he paid a courtesy visit to the State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun at his Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta office.
Adesina said the AfDB would provide buyers for the agricultural products of the state government through its agriculture business chain.
He said that one of the five priorities of the Bank was to feed Africa, noting that feeding the continent requires making agriculture a business that would create wealth and jobs.
Adesina noted that the special agroprocessing zones would attract food and agric businesses into rural areas that have already been enabled with basic infrastructures like water and power, adding that the presence of rural dwellers would help add value to everything that is produced in the rural areas.
He commended the Governor for his passion for agriculture, assuring that the Bank would support the State Government to achieve its set goals in the agric sector.
The AfDB President equally promised full support for infrastructural funding of Agro development in the state.
“One of our five priorities in the Africa Development Bank is to feed Africa. Of course, to feed Africa means we must make agriculture a business for creating wealth and also jobs and for reviving rural economic activities.
“The Governor has a clear strategy on that, and I assure him of my full support, and that of the Bank in supporting their work. We would like to support them to create a special agro-industrial processing zone that would allow them to process all range of things from agricultural produce. We are also looking at forest products as well. It is going to be very important, so I think that thinking has started. The commitment is there from my side and also from the Governor’s side,” he said.
“Generally, in the rural areas of Africa, we have a high level of poverty and that is actually structural in the sense that the productivity of agriculture is quite low, so unless we have agriculture working as a business, the farmers would not have where to sell their produce. Everybody would be coming out of the rural areas, all drifting into the urban areas.
“So what the special agroprocessing zone will do is to attract food and agric businesses into rural areas that have already been enabled with basic infrastructure like water, power and roads, so they can process and add value to every single thing that is produced there. Obviously, that will expand the physical space in the rural areas. It will create quite a lot of jobs. It will reduce rural-urban drift,” he said.
Speaking earlier, the state governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun said to further consolidate on the AfDB plans, an Agro cargo Airport that will enhance easy transport and seamless movement of agricultural produce would be established to further trade growth.
The governor added that, a world class Agric and wood processing zone will be created in the state to diversify the state’s economy through tree plantation.
He noted that there was no reason for the State not to be the food basket of the country, adding that it has everything going in its favour – with a land mass of about 16,000 square kilometres, out of which 12,000 is arable.
“I want to thank you for all you have been to us in the State, particularly your wise counsel on so many things that we’ve wanted to embark on. I want to reassure you that our commitment to lifting our people out poverty is total, and that is why our vision is very clear about that.
“We want to thank you for choosing our State as one of the special agroprocessing zones, in terms of agriculture. There is no reason for us not to be the bread basket of this nation. We have everything going in our favour. We have the land mass of about 16,000 square kilometres, out of which 12,000 square kilometres is arable. We will continue to look at ways and means to enjoy a mutually beneficial relationship,” he said.
In his remark, the Special Adviser to the governor on Agriculture, Dr. Samson Adeola Odedina promised cooperation and full empowerment for all Agro farmers in the state.