The Chinese government’s initiative; the China-Nigeria Agricultural Modernization Cooperation Forum may prove pivotal to the success of the Nigeria’s recently launched economic plan Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).
Knowing that agriculture is a major component of Nigeria’s ERGP; China boasts of being able to feed about 20 per cent of the world’s population with only around 9 per cent of the world’s arable land.
Speaking at the onset of the initiative held in Abuja, Dr Zhou Pingjian, Ambassador of China to Nigeria, stated that “Nigeria is the most populous country and largest economy in Africa. Agriculture accounts for 23 percent of its GDP and employs 38 per cent of its working population. No wonder agriculture and food security has been listed as one of the five key execution priorities of ERGP.”
He explained that “according to ERGP, agriculture will continue to be a stable driver of Nigeria’s GDP growth, with an average growth rate of 6.9 per cent over the plan period. By 2020, Nigeria is projected to become a net exporter of key agricultural products, such as rice, cashew nuts, groundnuts, cassava and vegetable oil.
“We are convinced that Nigeria will achieve self-sufficiency in tomato paste, rice, wheat and other farm produce through its own hard work. As a strategic partner of Nigeria, China stands ready to share its experience in agricultural development with Nigeria and provide financial and technical support to assist Nigeria achieve agricultural transformation and food security.
“We are willing to work with Nigeria side to provide more effective platform to mobilize more Chinese investment in Nigeria’s Green Alternative.”
The forum was put together by the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), China Chamber of Commerce in Nigeria and a Chinese firm, Green Agriculture West Africa Limited (GAWAL).