Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has officially launched the Kwara State Steering Committee responsible for executing the Special Agro-industrial Processing Zone (SAPZ), a substantial project aimed at enhancing food and nutritional security. The governor emphasized the project’s potential to significantly contribute to these aspects.
Backed by the Islamic Development Bank and matched funding from the state government, SAPZ is a $57.2 million initiative dedicated to advancing agro-processing and sustainable farming. Its overarching goals include elevating household incomes, fostering job creation, particularly for youth and women, and enhancing rural agricultural communities.
The (statutory) steering committee, led by the Governor, comprises key officials, including the Commissioners for Agriculture and Rural Development, Finance, Budget and Planning, Business, Innovation, and Technology, Works, and Energy, along with the State Project Coordinator for SAPZ, who also serves as the secretary.
Inaugurating the committee, the Governor said: “This project has the capacity to radically impact the economy and livelihood of so many Kwarans. As such, it is immensely important to me as the Governor of Kwara State and chairman of the State Steering Committee.
“The objective of the SAPZ project is to support inclusive and sustainable agro-industrial development in Kwara State. The SAP-Z Project’s goal is to increase household incomes and foster job creation in rural agricultural communities, especially for the youth and women, thereby enhancing food and national security.
“Also, the proposed SAPZ project will support economic and social development programmes of the Federal Government of Nigeria and the participating states. It will contribute to rural infrastructure development, improve access to agricultural markets, increase farm productivity, and promote agricultural technology, and climate-smart agricultural production, and processing practices.
“It will also increase value addition in agro-processing and skills acquisition with a focus on all actors along the value chain, including smallholder women and youth. As members of the state Inter-Agency Steering Committee, you are to provide oversight to the project at the state level as contained in the project appraisal document.
“As you are being appointed to this role, I ask that you discharge your duties with utmost commitment and dedication to the success of this program and the development of Kwara State.”
Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Toyosi Thomas-Adebayo said the inauguration set off a steady implementation of the multipurpose project
“Rest assured, Your Excellency, of our dedication and commitment to the success of this project. We realise that it is important for the state and for you, and we are in this for impact,” she added.
State SAPZ Coordinator Engr. Busari Toyin Isiaka said the steering committee has the responsibility of strategic direction and policy guidance for the project.
He said SAPZ currently involves eight states, but the trio of Kwara, Kano, and Abuja are funded by the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), while the rest are financed either by AfDB or IFAD.