By Mohammed Kandi
The Federal Government, at the weekend, signed a joint declaration for bi-lateral cooperation on agriculture with Israel.
The new partnership, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, said would help boost fish production in Nigeria, improve on micro-irrigation and facilitate agricultural mechanisation in the country.
Dr. Adesina, who signed the pact on behalf of the Federal Government in Abuja, said that the partnership is a beginning of great things to be achieved in the sector.
“Nigeria will work closely with the State of Israel to boost fish production so as to cut down on the amount spent yearly importing fish,” the minister said “It will interest you to know that Nigeria spends N125bn annually on fish import alone and this ought not to be considering the abundant water resources in this country.”
“The cooperation will also include areas of beef production, horticulture and training. They (Israel) will help us also to structure our rural communities in a way that youths in these communities will be able to create wealth through agricultural activities instead of migrating from their local areas.”
Dr. Adesina also explained that the Federal Government has intensified efforts in making sure that private investors are involved in the business of agriculture in Nigeria.
He said the President has directed that private investors be wooed to the agricultural sector so as to drive wealth-creation for agriculturists, adding that about $4bn (N 640 bn) private sector investments has been invested in the industry.
In his remarks, the Israeli Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Yair Shamir, said his country was willing to cooperate with the Nigerian government to develop agriculture in the country.
“Our goal is to secure food for everybody. Israel is a strong willed nation. We want to continue our friendship with Nigeria,” he said.