The Association of Chambers of Commerce India (ASSOCHAM), and the Nigeria Association Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), have signed a memorandum of Understanding (MoU), to boost agriculture and agro-allied trade between the two countries.
The agreement would also help boost Nigeria-Indian cooperation to meet exportable targets of agricultural commodities including pulses (beans), cashew nuts, sesame seeds, and shear butter and a host of others. The Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, B.N Reddy, during a business meeting on, Nigeria-India cooperation in Agriculture and allied sector: opportunities and way forward, noted that utilising modern technologies, improved varieties of seeds, improved yield of fertilisers, and irrigation systems to farmers led assisted the country to Green Revolution.
He said: “India is producing 275million tonnes of food grains; the second largest producer of food and vegetables, and one of the leading exporters of food and agricultural commodities to the tune of $40billion this year running.” He assured that, “India is ready to share its experience in last few decades in the agricultural sector. Our team to this event is to bring together relevant stakeholders, the Government, resource persons, private sector representatives from India and Nigeria, and equally the financial institutions in both countries, so as to identify areas of cooperation between both countries.”
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh, said: “The list of exportable items readily for export in Nigeria consists of pulses, sesame seed, and cashew nuts. India is almost 80 per cent vegetarian, and they are asking us to produce and export pulses to them which has $1billion markets, and they are assisting us greatly on that export.”
He said: “We are also discussing with them on cashew; mainly because we are now No. 4 in cashew production in the world. From the programme we are launching next year April, we would be targeting planting three million seeds a year.”
Speaking further, the Minister pointed out that, “Nigeria has an increasing population galloping at about 3.2 per cent, and more children are born here in Nigeria than in the entire European Union daily. We are heading for 450 million by 2050. Where are we going to find the rice, the milk, and the Sugar, to feed the population, and even Central and North Africans that come in here to buy food from us? “In every disaster there is an opportunity. We have the land, the air, the water for agriculture; this is the time to upscale our efforts and cooperation with our foreign partners.”
In his earlier remarks, NACCIMA Vice President, Adetokunbo Kayode, said: “NACCIMA has 50 000 members. We would use this platform to deepen opportunities between Nigeria and India. The entire Agriculture value chain is our area of concentration now, and we are inaugurating a task team at the chamber to immediately follow up on our resolutions with them. We are also looking at technology, advanced ICT, and manufacturing sector.”