Tunis hosts AfDB seminar on staple crop processing zones | Tunisia News Gazette

Tunis hosts AfDB seminar on staple crop processing zones

Staple crop processing zones (SCPZ) play a key role in developing agriculture in African countries, Director for Agricultural Finance and Rural Development at the African Development Bank (AfDB) Atsuko Toda said.

Atsuko Toda Monday told participants in a three-day seminar organised by the AfDB in Tunis on “Enhancing Knowledge on the Challenges and Opportunities of Developing and Implementing Staple Crop Processing Zones in Africa” the aim of SCPZ is to convert the rural landscape in Africa into zones of economic prosperity, increase the capacity and efficiency of food production and agricultural value added, promote local, regional and international trade and boost investments in the agri-industry.

Staple crop processing zones also help increase the contribution of the agricultural sector to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and generate jobs.

Atsuko Toda also said there is need for the SCPZ to be premised on a political and regulatory framework that fosters public-private partnership (PPP) and improves the business environment. They should also have the support of the government and be implemented by the private sector.

Manager and Chief Poverty Alleviation Officer at the AfDB Justin Murara said the SCPZ remain essential for potentialising agricultural products and creating jobs for youth.

The seminar seeks to create synergy among African countries to stimulate debate and the exchange of experiences and explore promising funding and management opportunities for these staple crop processing zones as well as future action plans, he indicated.

Necessary institutional arrangements top the event’s agenda along with smart infrastructure, the role of private investors in the development of agricultural value chains.

Director General of Food Industries at the Ministry of Industry and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Hamida Belgaied said Tunisia wants to exploit the full potential of the creation of SCPZ to deliver a boost to the agribusiness, a key component in the national economy.

Tunisia eyes increased exports and developed processing activities, she highlighted. The processing rate of agricultural products in Tunisia exceeds 60%.

Belgaied also said the competitiveness cluster created in 2006 in Bizerte will be developed to serve as a pilot model for crop processing zones.

About one hundred experts in agriculture and industry from Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Guinea, Mali, Mozambique, Tanzania and Togo are attending the event.

Source: TAP News Agency

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