The Federal Government says it has endorsed a partnership between the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), investors linked to the Chinese government, as well as Brains and Hammers private firm to boost irrigation farming
This was contained in a statement by issued by Mrs Juliet Okeh, an Information Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture, to newsmen, on Sunday, in Abuja.
Okeh said that the partnership aimed to deepen irrigation techniques and technology to enhance crop production in Nigeria.
”The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Muhammad Nanono, has said that the ministry is in support of the partnership between the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), investors from the Chinese government and Brains and Hammers firm.
”The Minister disclosed this when he received a delegation from the Chinese Investors and Brains and Hammers, through the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), who paid him a courtesy visit in Abuja”, the statement added.
Nanono said that there were ample investment opportunities in agriculture that needed more partnerships, new approaches and modern technologies, especially irrigation technologies, to explore crop production in all seasons.
He expressed delight over the collaboration, saying that the ministry had always been interested in any intervention that would help in the development of the agricultural sector in Nigeria, particularly those that were private sector driven.
The minister noted that the foundation of the development of the Chinese economy had been largely agriculture based, saying that the country was well known for huge production of beans, rice, sorghum and soya, which are also cultivated mostly in northern parts of Nigeria.
Similarly, the Minister expressed delight that Brains and Hammers, a well known investor in real estate in Nigeria, was diversifying into farming, particularly in the development of the irrigation system.
” If you will be able to work on these dams, creating irrigation, definitely the entire farming system in Nigeria will transform,” he said.
He stressed the need for the expansion of Nigeria’s irrigation system to boost the production of crops, such as maize and rice, during the dry season, so as to mitigate their importation into the country.
In his remarks, AFAN President, Alhaji Farouk Mudi, said the purpose of the visit was to partner with the ministry, on the provision of seeds, infrastructure, to facilitate the speedy actualisation of the collaboration.
In an earlier presentation Mr. Wang Yun, an Agricultural expert from the Chinese investor group, said that they were in Nigeria to partner with the FMARD, through AFAN, to bring the Chinese experience of over 30 decades in the agricultural sector. into the country to boost crop production, especially rice and maize.
He assured that Nigeria would not only produce rice for consumption but would become a major exporter of the commodity in Africa, adding that at the end of the four-year collaboration, China may even be importing rice from Nigeria.
In his remarks, Mr Abu Abubakar, representative of Brains and Hammers, said that the company was best known for building of houses, but decided recently to diversify into Agriculture because of its desire to ensure food security in the country.
He said that the company had already secured the release of 21 dams by the Kano state government and was also in partnering with the state to build infrastructure at the dam sites, to support the irrigation system.