Gov. Ododo commends selection of Kogi as special agro-industrial processing zone

Gov. Usman Ododo of Kogi says the choice of the state as a special agro-industrial processing zone by the Federal Government is a step in right direction.

Ododo said this  when he hosted a delegation from the Africa Development Bank (AfDB) and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security on  Friday in Lokoja.

He explained that his administration was ready to meet all requirements for the establishment of a Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zone (SAPZ) in the state.

The project ,which is an initiative of the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security and the Kogi government, is expected to attract significant foreign and domestic private sector investment into the state.

The Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zone is expected to process maize, cassava, rice, palm oil, cashew, sugarcane and fish, in line with the commitment of Gov Ododo to transform Kogi into an agro-industrial hub.

The governor said: “We have already allocated 254 hectares of land in Ukpake, AjaoKuta Local Government Area for the purpose of the special agro-industrial processing zone.

“Our decision to establish the agro-industrial processing zone in Ukpake was due to its strategic location and proximity to essential resources such as water supply, electricity, gas, a railway line linking Kogi and a number of states and the proposed international cargo airport in Adogo ,which is a few kilometers from the proposed site of the agro-industrial facility.

“We wish to assure you that Kogi  government will do everything possible to provide the enabling environment for the selection of the state for the phase II of the project and its eventual take off.

“This is because it is  in line with my administration’s policy on industrialisation and the strong will to guarantee food security in the state through investment in agriculture.

“We are also aware that such investment in agricultural value chain will increase productivity, provide access to market for farmers and provide job opportunities for the teeming population of the state.”

Ododo commended the African Development Bank for the initiative, which he said would enhance job creation and guarantee food security in Kogi and Nigeria ,at large.

In his remarks, Dr. Bashir Ibrahim-Gaya, who led the AfDB delegation, said the assessment tour was intended to verify the readiness of states to be selected in the phase II for the establishment of the Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zone.

Ibrahim-Gaya explained that the SAPZs were being implemented in 18 countries across Africa, including Nigeria.

According to him, the phase I in Nigeria, covering seven states ,including the Federal Capital Territory, has commenced.

“Our team is here in Kogi to assess the state’s readiness as a possible beneficiary in the phase II of the project, ” he said.

In their separate remarks, the State Commissioner for Finance, Budget and Economic Planning, Asiwaju Ashiru Idris and Commissioner for Agriculture,Mr  Timothy Ojomah, assured of the political will by the state government to see to the realisation of the project in the state.

Ojomah said the proposed agro-industrial processing facility would  be supported by adequate and reliable supply of raw materials and semi-processed agricultural produce from the state Agricultural Transformation Centres in Alape, Anyigba and Osara.

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