LAGOS, JUNE 30, 2016 – The Ogun State Commissioner for Agriculture, Mrs Ronke Sokefu, on Thursday said that her government’s diplomatic relations with Belgium would assist in boosting its ongoing agricultural development initiatives.
Sokefu, who disclosed this in Lagos at the Nigerian-Belgian Chamber of Commerce(NBCC)’s Breakfast Meeting, said that her government would use Belgium’s support to develop its agricultural
The theme of her presentation was, ’’Agribusiness as a Tool for Fostering Diplomatic Relations: The Role of a State Government’’.
‘’Government does not have the resources to explore its agricultural development potential. So, establishing a diplomatic relationship with a country like Belgium, will strongly promote the development of Agriculture in Ogun.
‘’A collaboration between Belgium and Ogun State in the area of advanced technologies and scientific research will certainly lead to increased agricultural production.
‘’This will also improve the livelihood of the State’s teeming farming population,’’ she said.
The Commissioner, who expressed her government’s commitment to the development of the sector, said that the state was endowed to produce most of Nigerian agricultural products.
Sofeku said that it was the role of a state government to stimulate growth through investment-friendly policies, infrastructural development and an appropriate legal framework for fostering relationships with its partners.
She also acknowledged that it was the role of a state government to ensure a stable political atmosphere, stable power supply, as well as the provision of security in its communities.
The commissioner listed the state’s agricultural development opportunities to include abundant water for irrigation and aquaculture, arable land, investment security, network of extension services and wastes for alternative generation.
Mr Tunde Okoya, President of the Nigerian-Begian Chamber of Commerce (NBCC) said that it was imperative for opportunities to be provided for farmers in developing countries, including Nigeria.
According to him, international trade in high-value agricultural products is growing at seven per cent annually, compared with only 2 percent for staple crops.
‘’There is currently a huge demand for horticultural exports worldwide, which is now a trillion dollar business.
‘’Nigerians need to tap into the huge market gap to diversify our economy and dominate the export market for fruits and vegetables,’’ he added.