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We have potential of being world’s food basket- Osinbajo

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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says the Federal Government will welcome partnerships and initiatives that will make Nigeria actualise its potential of being the food basket of the world.

Osinbajo’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, in a statement, said the vice president stated this while receiving a delegation of Chinese investors and officials from the African Development Bank (AfDB) at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Tuesday.

The Chinese investors are in the country at the instance of AfDB, to commence the processes of investing in Nigeria’s agricultural sector under an Agro-industrial initiative.

The focus is on crop production, forestry, fishery, and livestock production.

Osinbajo said that the Federal Government was committed to developing a thriving agro-industrial sector

“Nigeria is a place where there is a tremendous opportunity; we have the ninth largest arable land in the world and most of that is still largely untouched.

“We have a tremendous potential of being the food basket of the world but a lot of that will depend on how we are able to get high-quality inputs, seedling and others.

“It will also depend on how we are able to use technology, especially the benefits of industrial agriculture to our advantage.

“We believe very strongly that this partnership is the one that will deliver the kind of growth, the kind of quantum leap we are looking forward to.

“We think that with your partnership with us, especially the agro-allied aspect of it if it works very well, we can achieve a lot.

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“This is why we are engaging you at this (presidential) level of government alongside the AfDB, to ensure that our investors have no trouble at all in being able to operate their businesses and do their businesses efficiently,” he said.

Earlier, Prof. Zhao Zhihai, Leader of the Chinese delegation, said that the Chinese investors were committed to the development of Nigeria’s agro-processing zone, especially the agro-allied sector.

On his part, Prof. Oyebanji Oyelaran-Oyeyinka, Head of the AfDB team at the meeting, said the framework of the initiative was to develop a programme that would leverage on Nigeria’s comparative advantage in key areas of agricultural production.

“The overall investment, under the initiative, amounts to between 16 billion dollars and 25 billion dollars over a period of four years, with a strong government support and private-sector leadership,” he said.

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