Bangladesh and Nigeria have mapped out strategies to boost bilateral relations to promote agro-farming and business for trade and investment for mutual benefits of both countries.
This was the focus of a symposium held to discuss various areas in the agriculture sector and food value chain with the theme “Promoting Agro-Farming and Businesses For Trade and Investments to Promote sustainable and inclusive development: Opportunities for Bangladesh and Nigeria” held in Abuja on Friday.
Speaking during the event, the High Commissioner of Bangladesh to Nigeria, Masudur Rahman, said the collaboration is important in a lot of areas such as technology and skill transfer and the digitalisation of agriculture.
“We have discussed the supply value chain of the agriculture markets, we have discussed the preservation of the agriculture products, packaging of the products and the compliance issues, diversifying fishing and other agricultural products” the envoy noted.
Ambassador Rahman said further that his country has attained self-efficiency in rice production, grain production, poultry, dairy products including fishing, achieved mainly through better irrigation infrastructure and mechanised methods. He also said that his country has introduced digital technology to improve the sector through data monitoring even as he promised to share this experience with Nigeria.
The High Commissioner expressed confidence about the momentum created by the symposium, adding that if properly harness, agriculture and agribusiness have the potential to trigger “sustainable development, economic growth, job creation and reducing poverty for both countries as well as expand trade.’’
Also speaking during the symposium, the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Ernest Umakhihe noted that the collaboration was apt considering the fact that agriculture is now a frontline business in the promotion of new investment and commercial potential as well as the establishment of export links between countries.
Represented by director of Special Duties, Fausat Lawal, the permanent secretary said “It will come with profound economic benefits in the area of food security, job creation and knowledge transfer”. He noted that the current global food crisis and long standing challenges of the agriculture sector has made it clear that more investment is needed in Nigeria’s agriculture sector.
“In recent years, many important steps have been taken to accelerate Nigeria’s export through market penetration and ensuring standards to competitive export. This has helped to promote the sector which is vital for sustaining economic growth and development.
“The agricultural sector plays a vital role in the overall economic performance of both Nigeria and Bangladesh, the promotion of agro-products and establishment of linkages within the global agro-supply chain therefore require that we utilise the advantages both countries have” he added.
President of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Dele Oye, who was represented by Alhaji Farouk Suleiman, urged both countries to address the challenges of infrastructure, high cost and lack of agro-friendly financing as well as bureaucratic and regulatory issues that pose obstacles to agribusiness.