By Cecilia Ijuo
Abuja – The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Mohammed Umar says Nigeria is open to foreign investors willing to invest in agribusiness in line with the present administration’s drive to diversify the economy.
Umar in a statement by the Assistant Director, Information in the ministry, Mrs Eno Olotu, on Thursday in Abuja, said Nigeria had full potential for development, with abundant raw materials in all the states.
The permanent secretary gave the remarks at an interactive session with a team of Belgian investors, under the auspices of Flanders Investment and Trade Agency, who visited him in Abuja.
He was quoted as saying “ Nigeria is open to the international community that want to do genuine business, especially in agriculture.”
According to him, the focus of the administration is to develop agriculture and secure the enabling environment for the nation to become an investor’s haven.
“Nigeria has the land, resources and the labour that will translate the vision into reality.
“What we are trying to do is to reduce poverty and the fastest way to do that is through agriculture.
“We must eat what we produce because any nation that cannot feed itself cannot survive.
“All we require is increased capacity, technology transfer and collaboration with foreign investors,” he said.
The Permanent Secretary urged the team to focus on inputs in the ongoing government initiatives in the sector, especially in the area of mechanisation.
He said with government de-emphasisng importation and promoting exportation of its products, Nigeria is ready to provide the raw materials for foreign companies to leverage on and assist to boost its export potentials.
The Belgian Ambassador to Nigeria, Daniel Dargent, who led the team of investors to the ministry, assured that Belgium would continue to partner with Nigeria to promote the ideals of both countries.
He said the presence of the investors in Nigeria was a proof of the persistent interest of Belgian companies in Nigeria.
The ambassador expressed optimism that the visit would build on the positive macro-economic trends of the Nigerian economy while strengthening its economic ties.
Flanders Investment and Trade project coordinator, Mr Malin Johan, said that the agency’s core agenda was to promote sustainable international businesses in the interest of both Flander- based companies and overseas enterprises.
High point of the interactive session was discussion on technical assistance, mentoring and coaching, support to women through inclusive agric-value chains, potassium sulphate based fertilisers, sulphuric derivatives, crop protection, gelatin and processing of organic by-products in the industry.
Also, the discussion covered how to use extracts and concentrates valuable animal proteins from blood, eggs and skins as by-products from the food chain including feeds, pet food amongst others.(NAN)