Nigeria, China sign accord on developing agriculture sector

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Nigeria and China have signed a bilateral agreement to enhance food security in the country, following the recent visit of Chinese Government delegation to the country. This fact was disclosed to newsmen by Mrs. Fatima Bamidele, permanent secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development while addressing a 15-man delegation from China led by its Vice-Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Zhang Taolin in Abuja. She said that Nigeria stands to gain from China’s expertise in agriculture.

She said: “The decline in the agricultural sector performance has been dramatic since the discovery of oil. The manufacturing sector has not performed better. Statistics have illustrated the poor performance of the non-oil sector. The share of non-oil sector decreased from 1970 to 2010. The decrease affected all the sectors (agriculture, industry, and services) but in different magnitude.

“Nigerian is indeed on an aggressive campaign for FDI and Chinese Government was also seeking for markets for inputs especially raw materials as well as markets for finished products.” Bamidele, however, underscored the importance of full implementation of the agreement, saying: “We have a tripartite agreement with China in the area of South-South Cooperation to help the country on agricultural development in areas of crop production, livestock, research, seedling which we had since 2009.

“They are here primarily to see other areas where we can collaborate and assist in new area of development. We have about 56 of their experts in Nigeria presently assisting in agriculture.

“Presently, we lose about 60 per cent of our crops or more to lack of production and lack of storage. For you to be self-sufficient, you have to manage that value change and subsequently export food to neighbouring countries,” she said.

She further said: “They have a population of 1.4 billion and they are self-sufficient in food. We are 140 million and we are still trying to get there. So, it makes good sense that we learn how to do things better. They have land and very scarce resources but they have been able to feed their people through proper management of land resources and their agricultural produce.”

Other areas which the Chinese Government could assist Nigerian, according to the Perm Sec are: apiculture development, pest control, livestock breeding, dairy development, abattoir by-products development; seed production, certification, quality control and hybrid technology; cooperative tractor hire service programme and cooperative agro-processing, packaging and storage.

The volume of trade between Nigeria and China increased from $178 million in 1996 to $1.44 billion in December 2001. The trade figure for 2002 was $1.168 billion and it rose to $1.858 billion in 2003. In 2004, the figure rose to US2 billion and stood at US$2.83 billion in 2007. The Chinese delegation visited South-South Cooperation site in Kubwa farm and Tropic Agric stations in Abuja among others.

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