The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, has expressed the willingness of Nigeria to partner the Netherland government in the area of machineries that can convert shafts from rice mills to briquettes for household use.
The move is part of broader plans for the agriculture sector, which would require international support for programmes and initiatives such as the cattle breeding improvement, climate change, standardisation and certification of food products, seed development and improvement and capacity building.
Ogbeh expressed the position of the government while receiving a delegation from the Kingdom of the Netherlands led by its Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. John Groffen, in his office.
The minister noted that considering that Nigeria’s population could grow to 200 million by 2020, it would be an advantage for food production if the country could hasten to lift the agricultural sector to the level of China, India and other nations in the western world.
“We need to put our growing population to good use by increasing local production of food crops. There is an urgent need for us as a country to grow more food crops in order to meet the demand of our growing population. This is why we are seeking more support from the international community towards the sustainable development of our country’s agricultural sector,” Ogbeh said.
He stressed that the present administration was poised to take life back to the rural areas and improve the living standard of the people.
He added that the ministry was working in collaboration with other relevant ministries such as the ministries of Works, Environment, Water Resources and Industry, Trade and Investment to grow and develop the sector.
Earlier, the Netherlands Ambassador to Nigeria, Groffen, had said the purpose of their visit was to explore areas of collaboration with the ministry, describing the challenges facing the nation’s agricultural sector as enormous.
The ambassador stated that Nigeria and Netherlands, which had in existence a business relationship, would now enjoy symbiotic sustainable development, with an assurance that varied opportunities inherent in Nigeria’s agricultural sector would be showcased to potential investors in Netherlands.
He assured the ministry of continued support of the Netherlands government in up-scaling the growth of Nigeria’s agricultural sector.