China and Nigeria held a strategic discussion in Abuja on Tuesday to strengthen agricultural cooperation between them.
Tagged China-Nigeria Agricultural Modernization Cooperation Forum 2017, the meeting discussed ways on how China can assist Nigeria to achieve an increase in agricultural productivity, food security and poverty reduction toward overall sustainable diversification of its economy.
Chinese ambassador in Nigeria Zhou Pingjian said China, as a strategic partner of the west African country, stands ready to share its experience in agricultural development and provide financial and technical support toward the country’s realization of its agricultural and food security plans.
“We are willing to work with Nigeria to provide a more effective platform to mobilize more Chinese investment in Nigeria’s Green Alternative,” Zhou said.
The envoy noted agricultural modernization has been one of the 10 cooperation plans China has been implementing with Africa since the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) summit held in 2015 in Johannesburg.
Speaking at the forum, an official who represented the Nigerian minister of agriculture and rural development, said the country has so far benefited from its strong affinity with China.
“China’s agricultural growth is impressive and offers a lesson for African countries. China pulled over 400 million people out of poverty within 10 years. It did largely through the transformation of its agricultural sector. China does not pay lip service to agriculture,” the official said.
Nigeria’s government said, through its newly launched Economic Recovery Growth Plan, it is working to make agriculture to be a stable driver of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) with an average growth rate of 6.9 percent.
Agriculture currently accounts for 23 percent of Nigeria’s GDP and employs 38 percent of its working population.
The country is projected to become a net exporter of key agricultural products such as rice, cashew nuts, groundnuts, cassava and vegetable oil by 2020, according to the government.
Between 2002 and 2014, China and Nigeria implemented two phases of the program under the China-Nigeria South-South Agricultural Cooperation, which provided the technical training in agronomy, water conservancy, fisheries, animal husbandry and so on in Nigeria.
China has provided a lot of training opportunities to Nigerian agricultural officials and technical staff for their capacity building, which has achieved good results.
Also, Chinese agricultural enterprises have been operating in Nigeria and had provided high-quality seeds for Nigerian farmers.
The Abuja forum, organized by the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), the China Chamber of Commerce in Nigeria and a Chinese firm, Green Agriculture West Africa Limited (GAWAL), was attended by representatives of the Chinese embassy and firms, senior Nigerian officials and stakeholders from various agricultural departments, national lawmakers and scholars and researchers.