The Federal Government has expressed desire to partner with the Province of Hunan from the People’s Republic of China on rice production.
Chief Audu Ogbeh Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, made this disclosure in his office during a courtesy call on him by Mr. Xu Da Zhe, the Governor of the Provincial Peoples Government of Hunan Province.
Ogbeh, while appreciating China’s growth in the last 35 years in the areas of agriculture, technological development, and machinery’ production, welcomed China’s partnership; believing that China possesses a rich experience and expertise in agriculture which Nigeria can tap to enhance its quest for improved seed development, mechanization and tissue culture.
He observed that China has made tremendous achievements in rice research and therefore, called for assistance in the areas.
The Minister particularly made a case for a requisite training of young people and rural farmers to aid cultivation of over 45 million hectares of land for enhanced food production
Mr. Idris Mamman, Acting Permanent Secretary in the ministry, thanked the Chinese government for partnering with Nigeria at this point in time when the Federal Government is exploring avenues to grow the sector.
He noted that the agriculture sector contributes 25 per cent 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 explained that the main objective of his visit to Nigeria is to develop partnership agreement with the country on agriculture and deepen the 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.
Meanwhile, Kano and Jigawa State Governments which have embraced the Rice Initiative signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with China in Abuja.