The Federal Government of Nigeria has expressed its readiness to partner with the Province of Hunan of the People’s Republic of China on rice production.
The Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh (OFR) made this known on Wednesday in his office during a courtesy call on him by Mr. Xu Da Zhe, the Governor of the Provincial Peoples Government of Hunan.
Chief Audu Ogbeh while appreciating China’s growth in the last 35 years in the areas of agriculture, technological development, and machineries’ production, welcomed china’s partnership; believing that China possesses rich experience and expertise in agriculture which Nigeria can tap to enhance its quest for improved seed development, mechanization and tissue culture development.
He observed that China has made tremendous achievements in rice research and therefore called for assistance in thse areas. The Minister particularly made a case for requisite training of young people and rural farmers to aid cultivation of over 45 million hectares of land for enhanced food production.
The acting Permanent Secretary, Mr. Idris Mamman thanked the Chinese government for partnering with Nigeria at this point in time when the Federal Government is looking for avenues to grow the sector.
He noted that the agriculture sector contributes 25% to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country and cited the vital role which the agricultural sector played in bringing the country out of recession in 2017.
Earlier, the visiting Governor of the People’s Republic of Hunan Province, had explained that the main objective of his visit to Nigeria is to develop partnership agreement with the country on agriculture and deepen friendship between the two friendly countries.
The Governor also informed the Minister that the implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRT) programme initiated by the President of China Mr. Xi Jinping, is on course as an instrument to foster, contribute to the development of Africa and further deepen bilateral relations with people and governments in Africa.
He said the BRT Initiative is also a development strategy aimed at enhancing cooperation and connectivity in order to play a bigger role in global affairs.
The Kano and Jigawa State Governments which have embraced the Rice Initiative yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with China in Abuja.
Osagie Jacobs Julie
For: Director, Information