The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has identified Nigeria as the powerhouse for agro-industrilisation in Africa.
Ms Katherine Meighan, the Associate Vice-President and General Counsel for IFAD, said this at the ongoing Strategic Partners and Investors Forum on the Launch of “the Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZ) in Abuja.
Meighan said that Nigeria was blessed with fertile land, a vibrant young population and over 88 per cent of arable land.
She further said that 75 per cent of the country’s population is younger than 24 years old.
According to her, Nigeria has the largest Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and the largest population in Africa.
She added that Nigeria is well positioned as a powerhouse for agro-industrialiation across the continent.
“Smallholder farmers which constitute 70 per cent of Nigerian farmers are the key to this transformation. Together, they produce up to 90 per cent of the national output.
“IFAD is laser-focused on financing such smallholder farmers to increase productivity and build resilient rural communities.
“Its mission is to invest in small-scale farmers and producers to build local food security and support vibrant rural communities,’’ said the official.
Meighan identified the involvement of the private sector as critical for the successful implementation of SAPZ using the four P model which entails Public Private Producer Partnership.
Meighan, who described the private sector as a key growth engine for rural economies, encouraged them to take full advantage of SAPZ platform.
“IFAD has decades long successful track record of using the four P model to bring significant benefits to all involved.