From: Bamidele Fashube, Abuja
MUHAMMAD Sabo Nanono, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development says the Government of Guninea –Bissau has sought support of the Nigerian government to increase their local rice production.
The minister got the request during the visit of the Guinean Ambassador to Nigeria, His Excellency Henrique Adriano Da Silva who came along with Suffyan Koroma, the Country Representative of Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), to his office, Friday in Abuja.
Nanono explained that the gesture is to enable Guinea realise its food sufficiency, food security and nutrition target.
He said this fete could be tied to the equipping of farmers with improved rice seedlings, farm inputs and providing anchor borrowing facilities by the current administration.
According to a press statement by Theodore Ogaziechi, Director of Information in the ministry, the request comes at the heels of the innovative successes recorded in the nation’s rice production.
Nanono, however, disclosed interest to assist Guinea-Bissau in terms of personnel training /technical assistance in rice value chain.
But the Minister was quick to note that establishing bilateral agreements between the two Governments were absolutely necessary.
He also promised to meet with the Guinean Minister of Agriculture to commence this initiative.
Ambassador Da Silva had earlier stated that rice value chain was the core of Guinean agriculture which saw Guinea exporting rice to other countries like Angola, Mozambique and Portugal among others.
The Envoy said as at today, 90 per cent of rice consumed in the country was imported which calls for the government to seek assistance from the Nigerian government.
On the other hand, Koroma presented a document which chronicles activities of FAO in Nigeria from 2017 to present.
Nigeria has made significant milestone on its rice production. In terms of policy, the Federal government also supported the rice farmers through credit (NIRSAL), (BOA) among other foreign interventions.
Rice farmers also got support through the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), border shut down to support local production, high tariff for rice import through the sea port among other interventions.