The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Arc. Sonny Echono, has restated the importance of the EU-Nigeria Business Forum to the investment drive of government in the agricultural sector. Arc. Echono stated this on Monday, 2nd November, 2015, when he received a two-man delegation of the European union (EU) led by the Ambassador and Head of Delegation, Mr. Michel Arrion in his office.
The Permanent Secretary explained that the opportunity of the business forum would help in promoting the current government plan of developing the agric value chains, now that government is diversifying from oil to agriculture.
Echono said the ministry’s participation would also provide a platform to discuss the EU ban on the exportation of Nigeria’s beans, which according to him was caused by excessive use of chemicals for preservation, saying other areas of collaboration and cooperation would also be explored.
He said the European Union is supporting Nigeria in the area of cotton where it has a better expertise.
The EU Ambassador and Head of delegation, Mr. Michel Arrion, in his remarks, stated that the EU has a 20-member strong relationship and presence in Nigeria and would be willing to invest in the Nigerian industrial sector especially agriculture. He therefore called for more business and trade relations between the EU member-states and Nigeria.
The Permanent Secretary also received in audience the Ambassador of Ireland, Sean Hoy, and discussed issues bordering on areas of collaboration between the two countries.
During the meeting, Arc. Echono, solicited for support in the areas of modern farming equipment to promote value addition. He strongly emphasized the need to bring technology into farming, massive production and linkage to markets and suggested the need to develop a template on areas of focus between Nigeria and Ireland for an effective cooperation.
In his remarks, Ambassador Hoy, stated the importance of establishing a strong economic tie with Nigeria, saying Ireland have a global expertise in the agricultural sector especially in high quality dairy products, tropical crops and nutritional drinks.
Considering the availability of raw materials in the country, he expressed his excitement with the proposed cooperation with Nigeria.
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