The Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Senator Abubakar Kyari, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding on behalf of the federal government with Cuba on food security and agriculture advancement on the sidelines of the G77 + China Leaders' Summit.
Olusola Abiola, Director Information, Office of the Vice President, in a statement on Sunday, said the Expression of Interest (EOI) was a historic journey to strengthen the ties between Nigeria and Cuba in the field of agriculture.
He said the signing ceremony took place at the Ministry of Agriculture of Cuba in the presence of officials from both countries.
Abiola said during the pre-signing meeting, Kyari lauded the willingness of Cuba's government to partner with Nigeria, noting both countries share a common vision for their people.
He added that the minister expressed heartfelt gratitude for the shared insights into Nigeria's pressing food and agricultural opportunities and challenges.
He said the agric minister also underlined Nigeria's demographic advantage, vast land resources, immense agricultural potential, promoting President Bola Ahmed Tinubu's vision for food and nutrition security.
"It was in this spirit that the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development evolved into the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security," Sen. Kyari was quoted to have said.
Senator Kyari extended a hand of partnership to his Cuban counterparts with a focus on vital areas such as bio-fortification of agricultural produce, improvement of agricultural seeds and seedlings, agricultural mechanization, cutting-edge technologies for increased yields, and the reduction of post-harvest losses.
The minister also said that "Nigeria is keenly interested in collaborating with Cuba in the domains of poultry, livestock, and fisheries.
The statement revealed that key areas of cooperation included veterinary medicine, vaccine development, artificial insemination, and the development of pastures and ranching as essential components in curbing the challenges posed by inefficient open grazing of cattle.
Others were training, capacity building, and knowledge transfer as the cornerstone of any thriving agricultural economy.
"In his own remarks, Cuba's Minister of Agriculture, Ydael Jesus Perez Brito who signed the MOU told the Nigerian delegation about the island nation's agricultural prowess, admitting that the country has "over 500,000 hectares under cultivation" and remains "a global player in the export of tobacco, coffee, honey, and other commodities."
"Mr Brito expressed delight at the opportunity to partner with Nigeria stating that his country would provide impactful cooperation in identified areas contained in the MoU.
"The host minister highlighted Cuba's agricultural human capital and different models of practices which have raised its productivity.
"He also explained that his country would deploy its wealth of experience to help Nigeria achieve its agriculture and food security policies.
"Nigeria will benefit from Cuba's agriculture capacity in areas such as bilateral relationships encompassing agricultural productivity, sustainability, knowledge sharing and technology transfer.
"The Nigerian delegation to the G77 + China Leaders' Summit in Cuba was led by Vice President Kashim Shettima, who represented President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
"The Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Senator Abubakar Kyari was accompanied to the ceremony by Nigeria's Ambassador to Cuba, H.E. Ben Okoyen, and other members of the Nigerian delegation," the statement added.