• Wednesday, May 22, 2024
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Nigeria partners Saudi Arabia to develop agricultural sector

Nigeria makes N358bn from cocoa export in 2023, says Kyari

The federal government through the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, has commenced a strategic partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture and Environment, water and Agriculture of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, towards rapidly developing the Nigerian agricultural sector.

Abubakar Kyari, the Nigerian minister of agriculture and food security gave the information when he received a delegation from the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, led by, his counterpart Abdulrahman Abdulmohsen A. Alfadley, minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in Abuja on Thursday.

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In his remarks, Abubakar Kyari said “We are desirous of a share in the Agri-Market of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the leading economy in the Middle East, to surpass the current volume of Agri-trade as provided by available figures, in areas of crops such as Sesame, Cashew, Ginger, Soyabean, Wheat, Maize, Palm Oil, Animal Feed among others.

The Minister who informed that the visit was the outcome of the bilateral engagement between the ministers at the recently concluded Saudi African Summit, stated that Saudi Arabia has something to benefit from Nigeria.

“They can come in and partner with us in terms of agricultural investments. We have a wide array of crops that they can invest in, so I believe we have never had it this good”.

Kyari informed that in prioritizing agriculture and food security, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has left no one in doubt as to his willingness and readiness to accommodate a range of ideas that can sustainably develop and encourage investments in the sector.

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This explains why the FMAFS sits on the nation’s Economic Management Team and regularly briefs the National Economic Council which coordinates the economic policies at both the national and the subnational level, thereby ensuring proper streamlining of policies and initiatives.

Our approach of incorporating immediate, short, medium–, and long-term timelines in our strategic work plan is to rapidly develop Nigerian Agriculture. In this respect, our focus is to attain continuous cropping all year round in both the Dry and Wet Seasons which are the two major climatic seasons in our country”.

Consistent with this, wheat was the major crop of focus in 15 of the 36 states in the last dry season. The programme achieved appreciable success with several states surpassing their allotted hectarages. Maize, Cassava, Sesame, Soybean, Sorghum and other staple crops are being targeted as part of the year-round cropping rice. But we know there are huge investment opportunities across the various subsectors. “he added

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The Minister further used the opportunity to reiterate that the commitment of the incumbent Nigeria government to further expand the investment space in the Nigerian Economy, particularly in Agriculture is getting stronger and that the government is amassing greater confidence across the globe with renewed assurances of making Nigeria more investment-friendly with an unrelenting emphasis on ease of doing business thereby opening wide the door for mutual benefits for well-meaning investors including from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia”

He added that the Nigerian government was gradually infusing mechanization into its agricultural production, enlisting known and reputable Agricultural Equipment Manufacturers from across the globe”

The minister explained that as part of the nation’s livestock modernization programme, about which the current administration is equally very passionate, “there abound huge potential for investments in ranching, breed improvement, feed and pasture development as well as value addition especially in the Special Agro-industrial Processing Zones (SAPZs)that have been delineated across the country for crops and livestock development”.

In his remarks, Abdulrahman Abdulmohsen A. Alfadley, the minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia said Nigeria has some comparative advantages stressing the need to invest wisely.

In his words “We do believe that Nigeria has some comparative advantages and the need to invest wisely in the agriculture, food sector, whereby we will be targeting the Nigerian market or exporting to the nearby countries.

“We are also aware that the challenge facing what’s called self-sufficiency is your ability to produce it at a lower cost compared to importing it from outside. Because if we fail to do so, we will continue to import and at a certain point in time, we may not be able to import and local production is not available.

The minister further stressed the need for both governments to provide incentives that would be mutually beneficial to both countries

In his words “So, what I believe, we need to do, the Saudi private sector, is to examine all the opportunities with the Nigerian private sector. There are certain incentives we need to provide to them, as the Saudi government, and we will provide them with certain laws and incentives which will encourage them to come and set up here in Nigeria.

“And I do also believe that certain incentives are expected from the (Nigerian) government, including, I think, allocating land in a long-term sort of lease or right to use. We will be happy enough to enter into a negotiation, I’m saying this on behalf of the Saudi private sector, which will lead to a win-win, sustainable investment.

Also speaking, AbdulRazaq AbdulRahman the chairman, of the Nigeria Governors Forum and Governor of Kwara State commended the turn-out of serious commercial farmers, describing them as the bedrock of our nation.

Noting that land resides in the sub-national, he said “It is a turning point for us in Nigeria today that we need to improve our production, for domestic consumption and export.

“This meeting is timely, our main aim, and long term is to export. And that’s why this meeting is exciting to me. It’s a partnership that will give progress, so I welcome the Saudi delegation to Nigeria and the Government of Saudi Arabia for granting support to Nigeria in human capital development and education as well”.

Earlier Ibrahim Usman, the President, Nigeria-Saudi Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture had invited members of the association to present the potentials Nigeria has in Nigeria agricultural value chain”.