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AfDB to invest $150m in Nigeria's rice production

By The Citizen
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Nigeria's quest for self-sufficient status in rice production by the year 2015 has received a boost, as African Development Bank (AfDB) unfolded plans to invest $150 million (N23.7 billion) in the country's rice value chain under the Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA).

According to the Chief Operations Officer, AfDB, Dr. Patrick Agboma who disclosed this yesterday at the opening of a two-day stakeholders workshop of the Bank Pre-Appraisal Mission on Rice Value Chain Development Programme (RVCP) in Abuja, the support is also part of the scheme.

Agboma recalled that AfDB, in 2012, invested $500 million (N79 billion) into the Agricultural transformation Agenda to support Rice, Cassava, Aquaculture and Sorghum over the next three years, disclosing that the rice Value Chain will take the lion share of $150million.

He explained that the fund would be used for the development of infrastucture along the processing zones in the benefiting states.

The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mrs. Ibukun Odusote, said that the programme will be implemented at six Staple Crop Processing Zones (SCPZ) across the country.

She added that the centres will be located in areas where there are high potential for production of the selected crops.

Odusote, who was represented by Director, Federal Department of Agriculture, Dr. Julius Odeyemi, stated that 13 sites have been designated for the first set of SCPZs for rice, cassava, sorghum, aquaculture and horticultural crops.

According to her, the workshop is to deliberate on strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats of the value chain.

'The crop processing centers will be provided with necessary infrastructure to attract investors who are willing to provide processing facilities to add value to the selected arable crops,' she added.

Director of Rural Development of the Ministry, Mr. Olumuyiwa Azeez, said the programme would compliment the government's effort to poverty alleviation and women empowerment.

He expressed hope that the programme will enable the country meet its rice sufficiency goal by 2015