India during the week in Abuja expressed its willingness to assist Nigeria address the capacity deficit hindering the development of the agricultural sector.
The countryâ€™s High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr Mahesh Sachdev, said this during a courtesy visit to the Minister of Agriculture and Water Resources, Prof Shiekh Abdallah.
Sachdev said that adequate capacity was critical to the development of the sector, and identified his countryâ€™s areas of interest as including technology transfer, value chain and human capacity development.
He said Nigeria could benefit from various courses onÂ technical and economic development â€œthat are totally freeâ€.
â€œI will want the ministry to give us the names of people that such knowledge can be imparted in for the development of agricultural sector.
â€œThe two_year courses are in diverse areas such as remote sensing, water resources, rural development and biotechnology, all at the expense of the Indian government.
â€œCapacity building, green revolution, market links, modern technology and rural development have been lunched in my country, to promote agriculture and we are reaping the dividend now.
â€œThere are gaps to be bridged as the situation is similar in Nigeria; therefore there is need for collaboration with the Federal Government to tap into the potentials of the sector for a healthy living,â€ the high commissioner said.
He urged Nigeria to revive its palm oil industry for the benefit of the country, stressing that the market was huge and profitable.
He noted regrettably that Nigeria, formerly the worldâ€™s largest producer of palm oil, does not contribute to indiaâ€™s seven_billion_dollar worth of imports annually.
He therefore stressed the need for collaboration between Indian importers and Nigerian producers as well as agro_business industries to revive the sector.
Responding, Abdallah, said the reduction of capacity deficit would change the face of agriculture in Nigeria and help to achieve the Federal Governmentâ€™s Vision 20:2020 Agenda.
â€œThe governmentâ€™s quest for development through food security and Vision 20:2020 can only be realised through collaboration and partnership with countries that have attained greatness in various areas of human endeavour,â€ he said.
He listed the major contraints hindering the development of the agricultural sector as including inadequate manpower and non_ availability of inputs, among others.
The minister said the government was committed to achieving food security but stressed that this goal could be attained only if the agricultural sector was fully developed.
Abdallah noted that the structural transformation of the agricultural sector among other action plans was aimed at fully harnessing its potentials with a view to attaining food security.
He said the success of the Nigeria_India partnership on capacity deficit would strengthen the governmentâ€™s food security programme.
Furthermore, he said the initiative would improve the living conditions of rural farmers and generate more employment due to the sectorâ€™s inherent comparative advantage.