Agrobased special economic zones
This is an agrobased special economic zone, is simply an SEZ with an agribusiness focus, which knowing fully well in turn implies some special qualities.
SEZs vary considerably in terms of institutional approaches and operational models. SEZs are policy instruments that aim to attract investment (particularly foreign direct investment [FDI]), create jobs, increase exports, generate hard currency, diversify the economy and serve as vehicles for technology upgrading.
They involve fairly complex policy instruments that encompass a wide diversity of institutional approaches, incentive structures and operational models. SEZs are not mutually exclusive to industrial parks, since they are simply a legislative tool that affords cer-tain privileges to those that obtain SEZ status. SEZs have traditionally been thought of as geographically designated, duty-free areas that focus on the industrial assem-bly of imported components for export.
Characteristics that make SEZs unique compared with other development models are their export orientation and related regulatory framework that targets streamlined customs procedures and duty-free import of raw materials and export of finished products.
An agrobased SEZ is a demarcated geographic area in which firms that are engaged in agribusiness and agro-industrial activities benefit from a more favourable regulatory, business and fiscal environment than those in the rest of the country.
Literarily, it is a special unit that has all sorts of factories and plants that are basically intended to use agricultural produce as their sole raw materials. It can also be seen as the manufacturing subset of the farm settlement that processes the raw materials and intermediate products derived from the farm i.e. transform the raw materials originating from agriculture, forestry and fisheries into finished or semi-finished products.
- The vision of an Agro-based Industrial unit envisages an acceleration of a demand driven agro business and agro industrial growth in the new globalized agriculture environment i.e. the Place of Agriculture. It will also, in no small way expect a bountiful increase in competitiveness by adopting an integrated approach and multiplication of harvest and processing for better returns to the farmers, community and the economy in general.
The following are some of the objectives of having industrial units:
- Accelerate and increase agricultural production.
- Reduce the problem of having farm produce perish due to lack of proper storage facilities.
- Contribute to the production of subsidiary and supplementary foods.
- Contribute to the development of agro industries in Nigeria.
- To facilitate investment in agro processing, hi-tech agriculture and Agricultural infrastructure projects.
- Provision of employment to the farmers [and even non-farmers].
- Increasing the technical knowhow of the workers and also develop an agro-based technology incubation centre.
- Increase in the GDP of the community and as well the income or the workers.
- Provision of higher income to the farmers, provide greater employment opportunity in rural areas and better products to consumers.
- To enhance the productivity of crops in a sustainable manner and give the farming community a competitive edge through an integrated approach to agriculture.
- To set up Agricultural infrastructure projects to promote exports of Agriculture products.
- To enhance farm gate price by facilitating contract farming so as to ensure direct supply from farmers to processors.
- To accelerate demand-based production of agro-products and develop agro industries in the new global agricultural environment.
- To make arrangements for timely supply of agricultural inputs, equipment and services at reasonable rates to the farmers.
- To provide necessary services to small and medium size producers for the sale of agriculture produce.
- To improve better quality life in rural areas by providing clean and low cost biogas energy.
- To empower the farmers with improved technological package including agricultural tools, crop selection and crop management practices to sustain under unpredictable and diverse agricultural conditions.
- To increase the levels of return to farmers by promoting value additions and consequently improve their standard of living.