By Providence Obuh
The Netherlands high commissioner to Nigeria, Mr Bert Ronhaar has called for a sustainable food production facility in relation to the increased need for good food production worldwide.
Ronhaar who made this assertion in an interview with Vanguard, during the Business Day Agribusiness food security summit 2012, called on the Federal Government to cooperate with the private sector and other bodies to achieve great result in agriculture.
He said “the Netherlands has ranked number one in terms of export in horticulture and number two in agriculture and food production worldwide. He by working together as government, as private sector and as research institutes, made our nation great in agriculture, horticulture and flour production.”
Continuing, he said, “that is for a small country like Netherlands, Nigeria is a big country, big nation, there are lot of potentials and the need worldwide is very great for improved food production and I think Nigeria need more of good quality food, sustainable food production facility, because we can not exploit our industry.
“That is why we have to make sure we maintain the quality of the soil because in Nigeria we see a lot of fertilizer users, but if you do not have the proper soil management programme in place as a farmer, then you might have for five years increased production and the soil will be depleted and it will be very difficult to make it good again. So that means there is need for conservative effort from everyone to increase production.”
He pointed out that in the Netherlands, the government provides the enabling environment for the private sector and for the farmers while the industry do the investment.
Speaking on Nigeria-Netherlands ties, he said that the two countries have a common relationship on investment in agriculture and food production through Public Private Partnership.
“Our government is working with Nigeria government on the improvement of cocoa production because in the past, Nigeria was a major cocoa producer. I think as a result of the oil industry and the interest of the people for money, the cocoa industry collapsed and there was sickness in the cocoa tree.”
However, he assured that there is room for Nigeria to become a major producer of cocoa, adding that it has put cassava programmes in place.
“The overall trade balance between Nigeria and the Netherlands is around 67 billion euro and for Netherlands, Nigeria is the largest trading partner in sub-Saharan Africa but twice as big as South Africa and for Nigeria, the Netherlands is the major exporting country,” he said.