The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Richard Adebayo, said that the Federal Government would welcome long-term agribusiness activities coming from Russia to Nigeria.
A statement issued on Saturday by the Minister’s Special Assistant on Media, Mr Julius Toba-Jegede, said that he stated this while participating in a session of the Russia-Africa Summit, at Sochi, Russia.
The session, according to the statement was tagged: “Sustainable Partnership in Agriculture: Institution, Tools and Guarantees’’.
The Minister said that Nigerian government would support Russian investment propositions aimed at boosting local capacity of primary production of food crops.
Others are crop processing, agricultural input supplies and machinery for on-farm and secondary processing of other agricultural produce.
He assured the gathering that the Nigerian government through the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment is implementing some policies to secure investors’ confidence in the nation’s agro-allied industry and economy.
Adebayo identified the policies as: Nigeria Sugar Plan, Cotton, Textile and Garment (CTG) Policy, Nigeria Tomato Policy, and Leather and Leather Product Policy.
He also revealed that government is currently focusing on creating framework for investment and growth in diary, oil palm and cassava industries.
The Minister added that Nigeria would foster arrangements with Russia to jointly improve risk mitigation structures like Agric insurance and infrastructure investment risk guarantee.
According to him, “Nigeria has launched key initiatives directed towards the achievement of sustained economic growth and diversification, especially the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP) and the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).
“Nigeria is indeed blessed with large arable land, which makes agriculture an important sector of the economy.
“The sector contributes 25 per cent of the Gross Domestic Products (GDP), growing at an average rate of 4 per cent annually and currently employs 50 per cent of the labour force.
“The potential remains vast as only 40 per cent of arable land is currently cultivated.
“To maximise this potential, the Nigerian Government has accelerated the implementation of critical agriculture related initiatives to drive development in the sector,” he said.
The Minister pointed out that among agriculture related programmes embarked upon by government are: the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme (CACS), the Anchor Borrower’s Programme, Zero Reject Initiative and the “Made in Nigeria” for exports program.
He said “I am most pleased the President Vladimir Putin declared 2019 as the year of Africa-Russia Relations, which aligns with the long-term aspirations of Nigeria.
“Thus, we will welcome investment propositions in boosting local capacity of primary production of food crops; rice, soybeans, wheat, cassava, sugarcane, tomato as well as cash crops – cocoa, oils and rubber.
“Others are crops processing, agricultural input supplies and machinery for on-farm and secondary processing of other agricultural produce with large local demand.
“ The Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment is implementing policies to secure investors’ confidence in the agro-allied industry and the economy.
“This is to create an enabling environment to stimulate domestic investments and consciously attract Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) and position Nigeria as the preferred investment destination.
“These policies include the Nigeria Sugar Plan, Cotton, Textile and Garment (CTG) Policy, Nigeria Tomato Policy, and Leather and Leather Product Policy.
“Similarly, we are currently creating frameworks to trigger investment growth in dairy, oil and cassava industry.
“It gives me great pleasure to inform you that Nigeria is committed to fostering its partnership arrangement with Russia; to enter long-term bilateral agreements to grow the Nigerian market and boost local production,’’ the Minister said.