By Lawrence Audu
The Federal Government of Nigeria and the Government of Brazil has launched an agricultural development programme tagged the “Green Imperative” in Abuja.
The programme was launched Thursday by Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo.
This bilateral development programme is a result of successive negotiations for technology and machinery support through a government to government credit facility, led by Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh in 2016 through 2017 and 2018.
Speaking during the launch in Abuja today, Vice President Osinbajo said: “The project itself is crucial to our signature focus on agriculture as a centrepiece of the economic diversification efforts of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
“This project will help develop our agricultural mechanization to make agriculture a dignified venture for our young people; and ultimately increase agricultural production and boost food security”.
In his remarks, the Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh described the collaboration between Nigeria and Brazil as a huge handshake across the Atlantic for a project that can change Nigeria’s mechanization landscape for the better.
“Agriculture is not enough if its stops at the production of raw materials. We have to add value to the raw materials.
“Take cassava for instance, we are the largest producers of cassava with about 50million tonnes per annum and yet we are still one of the largest importers of cassava products such as industrial starch, adhesives, ethanol etc because most of what we produced is wasted.
“So, mechanization, tractorization and the industrial application of cassava produces etc, is the way to go and we are very pleased that this is happening today”, Chief Ogbeh added.
The key objective of the programme is to up-scale the country’s agriculture to boost food production, improve food security, expand job growth and ultimately boost household income in Nigeria.
The project also aims to develop deep collaboration between Nigerian and Brazilian industries to deliver and use appropriate technologies to improve productivity in crops such as rice, cassava, cocoa, wheat, soya beans, and maize, sugar cane, tomatoes and others.
In attendance at the launch were country delegations from Brazil led by the Brazilian Ambassador to Nigeria; Nigerian Ministers and State Governors, members of the National Assembly and Agricultural stakeholders.