Nigeria occupies the 103rd position among 121 countries classified to be facing a hunger crisis, said the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Akinwumi Adesina.
He stated this at the launch of the Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZ) in Nigeria in Abuja on Monday.
Although he said Africa faces huge challenges in meeting its food needs, with 283 million people that go hungry annually, he, however, noted that Africa has massive agricultural potential with 65% of the uncultivated arable land left to feed over 9 billion people in the world by 2050 being in Africa.
Adesina said: “According to the Global Hunger Index (2022), released just a week ago, Nigeria ranks 103rd among 121 countries facing a hunger crisis in the world.
“Hunger in Nigeria cannot be justified. Nigeria has the land, with 34 million hectares of arable land with rich and diverse agroecology.”
Speaking about the SAPZ, Adesina said the bank is investing over $1 billion in SAPZs in 18 African countries.
AfDB is providing $210m for the development of the SAPZs in Nigeria, the Islamic Development Bank is co-financing with $150m, while the International Fund for Agricultural Development is adding $160m, he said.
Adesina also said 23 states in Nigeria are backing the scheme which is the largest in Africa and 19 additional state governments have indicated interest to also establish special agro-industrial processing zones,
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo who represented President Muhammadu Buhari at the Official Launch of at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said: “If the Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones programme delivers on its objectives and we have no doubt that it will, then we would in less than a decade deal a fatal blow to food insecurity, create millions of good paying agro-industrial jobs and opportunities and radically improve export earnings from agriculture.”