The Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development – Chief Audu Ogbeh has led a Nigeria delegation to Brazil for Nigeria-Brazil bilateral meetings and subsequent signing of the Protocol of Intention for Nigeria to access Agricultural Mechanization Credit under the More Food International Programme.
The bilateral meeting was a follow up to on-going negotiations to consider Nigeria’s request, to join the More Food International Programme offered to African countries by Brazil for technology and machinery support through a government to government machinery credit facility. The request was submitted last year by the Hon. Minister – Chief Audu Ogbeh after successive deliberations and visits.
The key objectives of the More Food International membership for Nigeria include up-scaling the country’s agricultural development programme in order to boost food productivity, improve food security, expand job growth and ultimately boost household income. A key element of that process is to intensify the degree of mechanization of Nigeria’s agriculture from tractors to harvesters to processors.
In addition to equipment support, Nigeria requires additional technical and service expertise, as well as training and support to unlock the full potential of its technology investments. The anticipated support entails executing an ambitious programme that is expected to add over 120,000 tractors and related equipment per annum for the next 5 to 8 years in Nigeria, develop deep collaboration between Nigerian and Brazilian industry to deliver and use appropriate technologies to improve productivity in crops such as rice, cassava, cocoa, wheat, soya beans, and maize, sugar cane, tomatoes etc.
Welcoming the delegation to the Special Secretariat of Agrarian Development – SEAD and Family Farming of Brazil Headquarters in Brasilia, the Deputy Secretary, Mr. Jefferson Coriteac stated: “We are very excited by the efforts Nigeria is currently making to develop its agriculture sector and we consider this important meeting a special moment in promoting a good partnership for the development of Africa” while the Managing Director, More Food International – Mr. Guilherme Martinelle who was also present at the meeting added: “We welcome Nigeria to partner in the field of food production and family farming, access to technologies, agricultural equipment and knowledge sharing.”
“We are happy that Brazil is willing to lend a helping hand to African in the area of agricultural development and your willingness to share your experiences with Nigeria, having been where we are today as a nation. We assure you that we will judiciously execute the support we get and repay every credit on and ahead of schedule. Our Agricultural Lending Risk management is here represented by the MD of NIRSAL to help analyse the risk factors and ensure we are doing the right thing” – Hon. Minister, Chief Audu Ogbeh told the meeting.
Also contributing to the discussions, Managing Director, Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) – Mr. Aliyu Abdulhammed said: “Our work in Nigeria’s Agricultural lending risk management is tailored in line with the Agricultural Promotion Policy – The Green Alternative and we are here to advise on financial risks and analysis of agricultural funding management.”
Highpoint of the meeting was the signing of The Protocol of Intention of Nigeria to Join More Food International which the Hon Minister – Chief Audu Ogbeh signed on behalf of Nigeria while Mr. Jefferson Coriteac – Deputy Secretary of the Special Secretariat of Agrarian Development – SEAD and Family Farming signed on behalf of Brazil. By the signing, the SEAD has undertaken to advance Nigeria’s application to the next meeting of More Foods Technical Group and to facilitate the formal admittance of Nigerian into the Programme.
The Honourable Minister and delegation were also received at APEX Brasil by the President – Ambassador Roberto Jaguaribe. The Agência Brasileira de Exportação e Investimento, (Brazilian Trade and Investment Promoting Agency) also known as APEX Brasil, is a governmental organization responsible for promoting Brazil’s exports and services in international markets; establishing economic partnerships with other countries and offering business support.
Speaking at the APEX Brasil, the Hon. Minister – Chief Audu Ogbeh stated: “Agriculture is top priority to Nigeria today and we are here in Brazil because of the common experiences we have both had; and because your country has been where we are today, we believe we stand to gain from your experience and learn from how you succeeded in agriculture. We need machinery to encourage young people into agriculture and reduce rural-urban migration; we need knowledge and research and to improve on extension services.”
The APEX Brasil President said he was honoured to receive the Hon. Minister and his delegation and pledged his readiness to partner with Nigeria especially in the areas of sharing mutual experiences, trade and investments and advancing scientific research, which he described as the backbone of the agricultural revolution in Brazil.
In continuation of the Nigeria-Brazil bilateral talks on developing Nigeria’s Agriculture, the Hon. Minister – Chief Audu Ogbeh paid a visit to Brazil’s Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock where he was received by the Deputy Minister – Mr. Odilson Ribeiro e Silva and other members of the cabinet.
Addressing the cabinet on the purpose of his visit, the Hon. Minister said research in seed development, livestock breeding, nutrition improvement and extension services are key components of Nigeria’s agricultural development strategy and “we want to learn from Brazil’s experiences to improve our research and technology transfer to sustain our food needs.”
The Deputy Minister, Mr. Odilson Ribeiro gave a presentation on the ‘Overview of Brazil Agriculture’ addressing Land Use in Brazil, Farmlands & Environmental Preservation, Green Savings On Grains and Energy Conservation etc. during the Hon. Minister’s visit.
Speaking during the visit, Executive Secretary, Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria – ARCN, Prof. Ambrose Voh said: “We want to initiate technical cooperation between our research council and Brazil’s Agricultural Research Corporation for capacity development in research and mutual exchange in intellectual and physical components.”
The Hon. Minister and delegation were also received at the Banco do Brazil (Bank of Brazil) by the General Manager, Mr. Paulo Eduardo Silva Guimaraes. The Bank of Brazil is funding the More Food International Programme, to which Nigeria has applied to join.
“We are here at the Bank of Brazil to notify the Management of Nigeria’s intention to join the More Food International which your Bank is funding, to seek your cooperation and assure you that Nigeria is restructuring, cutting down on waste and is prepared to do her part diligently in the agreements”, Chief Ogbeh stated.
Welcoming the Hon. Minister and delegates, – Mr. Paulo Eduardo Silva Guimaraes said he the Bank of Brazil is committed to the successful running of the More Food Programme by providing financial implementation through our very competitive interest rates and looks forward to welcoming Nigeria on board.
On the Minister’s entourage were the Executive Secretary, Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria – ARCN – Prof. Ambrose Voh; Managing Director, Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) – Mr. Aliyu Abdulhammed; Nigerian Consul General in Sao Paulo – Mr. Muntari Abdu Kaita; Director, Federal Department of Agriculture – Dr. Amin Babandi; Deputy Chief of Staff to Imo State Governor – Mrs Ogechi Ololo – representing Imo State Governor; Commissioner of Agriculture, Imo State – Mr. Udo Agoha; Oyo Commissioner of Agriculture – Mr. Oyewole Oyewunmi; Plateau State Commissioner of Agriculture – Mrs Lynda Barau-Alhamdu and from the private sector, the Chairman of Agro Mills Investment – Mr. Rabiu I Rabiu . Also on the Minister’s team were the Senior Technical Adviser on Policy and Projects – Dr. Andrew Kawasari and Special Assistant to the Hon. Minister – Mr. Dennis Goje.