In line with its commitment to develop a thriving agro-industrial sector, the Federal Government will welcome partnerships and initiatives that would make Nigeria actualize its potential of being the food basket of the world, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.
The Vice President stated this on Tuesday when he received a delegation of Chinese investors and officials from the African Development Bank (AfDB), at the Presidential Villa.
According to Prof. Osinbajo, “I think that Nigeria is a place where there is tremendous opportunity. We have the 9thlargest arable land in the world and most of that is still largely untouched.
“We have a tremendous potential of being the food basket of the world but a lot of that will depend on how we are able to get high quality inputs, seedling and others, and how we are able to use technology especially the benefits of industrial agriculture to our advantage.”
Referring to the interest of the Chinese investors in the agro-allied sector, the VP noted that “we believe very strongly that this partnership is the one that will deliver the kind of growth, the kind of quantum leap we are looking forward to. We think that with your partnership with us, especially the agro-allied aspect of it, if it works very well, we can achieve a lot.”
Continuing, Prof. Osinbajo said “this is the reason why we are engaging at this (presidential) level of government alongside the AfDB, to ensure that our investors have no trouble at all in being able to operate their businesses and do their businesses efficiently.”
The Chinese investors are in the country at the instance of the African Development Bank to commence the processes of investing in Nigeria’s agricultural sector under an initiative known as the Agro-Industrial initiative with focus on crop production, forestry, fishery, and livestock production.
Speaking earlier, Prof. Zhao Zhihai, the leader of the Chinese delegation, said a consortium of Chinese investors were committed to the development of Nigeria’s agro-processing zones and especially the agro-allied sector.
In his own remarks, Prof. Oyebanji Oyelaran-Oyeyinka, the head of the AfDB team at the meeting, said the framework of the initiative is to develop a programme that leverages Nigeria’s comparative advantage in key areas of agricultural production.
According to him, “The overall investment, under the initiative, amounts to between $16 billion to $25 billion over a period of four years with a strong government support and private sector leadership.”