By Maureen Okon
The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, says the Federal Government is to allocate $200 million for the creation of 780 Agricultural Service Centres to serve as catalysts for training and equipment sharing, under the Nigeria-Brazil bilateral development programme.
The Vice president, who was represented by the Secretary of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, said this at the 4th 2021 Nigerian Diaspora Investment Summit (NDIS21) held at the Congress Hall, the Presidential Villa, in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the summit was organised by the Nigerians in the Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM), in collaboration with the Federal Government and the Nigeria Diaspora Summit Initiative (NDSI), under the theme: “Partnership and linkages for post-COVID economic growth”.
He said that the Federal Government had designed a programme to transform agriculture and scale up productivity in Nigeria called the Green Imperative Nigeria-Brazil Bilateral Development Programme.
It was designed to sustain the economy through the use of Brazilian technology for the development of agricultural mechanisation that would make farming a dignified venture for the Nigerian people and ultimately increase agricultural production and boost food security, Osinbajo said.
He noted that the solution offered Nigeria the connection of the agricultural value chains, through an initial investment package worth $100 billion dollars, set by the governments of Brazil and Nigeria, to be used for the improvement of overall infrastructure in Nigeria’s rural areas.
The key objective, he added, was to scale up the country’s agriculture, through close collaboration between Nigerian and Brazilian industries, for the delivery and use of technology to improve crops.
Osinbajo said that the Green Imperative was still in its early stages of implementation to deliver any outcomes expected from the active and engaged participation of both countries, through their respective Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Agriculture and Finance.
“The Green Imperative is part of the foreign agenda of both countries, thus representing a worthy cooperation initiative for a duration of 10 years with long term goals for food security, expanded job growth and, ultimately boost food production and household incomes in Nigeria.
“The project will have over two phases of implementation. The first phase will be the allocation of over $200 million dollars for the creation of around 780 Agricultural Service Centres as catalysts for training and equipment sharing.
“While the second phase will be technology transfer from Brazil to Nigeria via the commercialisation of agricultural equipment and inputs such as tractors, planters, seeders, fertilisers and pesticides.
“This programme will provide another veritable avenue for investments and engagement by the Diaspora for sustainable outcomes. Recovering the economy of the nation cannot be achieved by the government alone.
“We need the partnership and deep involvement of the Diaspora and foreign investors, among others, investing in local businesses to boost and diversify the economy,” he said.
Osinbajo added that the administration came to the realisation that it needed to drive support for the NDSI, as its clarion call to the Diaspora and their friends to come and invest in a land of boundless opportunities and possibilities like the Chinese, Indians, Lebanese, Israelis and South Africans were already and successfully doing here in Nigeria.
He cited last year’s summit when the Federal Government witnessed a number of Diaspora investors heeding that call and that it was encouraging to note that even more had turned up this year.
“We assure you of our commitment to ensure that your investments are not only secure, but that you get a good rate of return on the investments you make, while basking in the glow of being contributors to the growth of business and development of the nation,” Osinbajo said. (NAN)