The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina seeks cooperation between the People’s Republic of China and the Federal Government in agricultural business.
Adesina said the partnership would present Nigeria an opportunity to access technological experience from China, establish business ventures between the two countries and promote food supply to China. The Minister spoke at a high level forum on achievements of South-South Cooperation (SCC) organised by the Ministry, Chinese government and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), Friday in Abuja.
Adesina said, "Nigeria sees China as a strategic partner in agriculture. We should establish a Nigeria-China Agribusiness Partnership to enable our two countries to go beyond demonstration of technologies, to South-South agribusiness partnerships that will help to scale up access to Chinese technologies and establish joint ventures to help transform our agriculture sector and secure food supplies to China."
SCC is a global programme implemented under the Tripartite Project Agreement (TPA) signed between the federal government, China and FAO to support the National Programme for Food Security (NPFS). The project, which is being funded by the federal government, covers the 36 States and the FCT. Among others, the programme was aimed to enhance food and nutrition security for improved livelihood.
Adesina identified need to mainstream activities of the project with the Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) of the present administration.
He also said that the country has dropped from being world highest importer of rice to China. While emphasising on the cooperation between the countries, the Minister urged development partners to modify the SSC because of the new agribusiness approach, to South-South Agricultural Investment Cooperation (SSAIC). He reminded the Chinese Vice-Minister for Agriculture, Chen Xiaohua of the anticipated rice milling technologies and cassava processing plants from China.
Adesina further stated that installing the plants in the country would enable the country to become self sufficient in rice production as well as meet its national need on High Quality Cassava Flour (HQCF) to substitute for wheat production. "We must work to ensure greater sharing of experiences and lessons between countries, to make our cooperative alliance stronger. We should now think of using SSC in a new way: instead of focusing on just technical experts for projects, we should focus more on the development of joint business ventures between Chinese and African agribusinesses," Adesina added.
In his remarks, Xiaohua said food security is fundamental to human survival and development, stating that China attaches much significant to agricultural development and food security which had enabled the country to remain self sufficient through local production.
According to him, "Agriculture is the foundation of a nation, and food is the heaven to its people." Adding, "China has fed 21 per cent of the world population with less than 9 per cent of world cultivated land, which embodies our commitment to the people, and also constitutes a major contribution to world security."
He noted that since inception of the project in the country in 2003, the SSC had received 574 Chinese experts and technicians and it has been the most productive in the country. The Assistant Director-General, Technical Cooperation Department, FAO, Laurent Thomas described the initiative as appropriate to achieve food security in the country.