News

February 24, 2024

Reps seek partnership with Netherlands on peace building, food Security

Reps faces division as PDP lawmakers clash over confidence vote for party's chair

… says collaboration on dairy production ‘ll foster economic growth

By Gift ChapiOdekina

The Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Benjamin Kalu has called for more collaboration and partnership between Nigeria and the Netherlands to address some challenges in the country such as conflicts and food insecurity to foster economic growth and development.

Kalu made the call while playing host to the Ambassador of Netherlands to Nigeria, Mr. Wouter Plomp who paid him a courtesy visit at the National Assembly, Abuja.

He noted that the Netherlands stands as a significant source of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Nigeria, particularly in oil and gas, manufacturing, and agriculture sectors.

He commended the Netherlands for their investments in Nigeria and contributions towards reducing insecurity.

According to him, the Netherlands’ support for peacebuilding initiatives in Nigeria, especially in addressing conflicts in regions like the North East, reflects both nations’ shared commitment to promoting stability and security.

Kalu harped on the importance of food security, saying that it’s a sustainable approach towards having peace and security.

The Deputy Speaker made reference to his initiative known as the ‘Peace in the South East Project’ which has agriculture and food security as one of its pillars, recalling that it recently launched ‘food for peace’ aimed at providing food for the people.

Speaking on other areas for further collaborations, Kalu stated that there’s a significant potential for partnership in the value chain for processing and packaging of dairy products.

He opined that Nigeria, having the fifth largest cattle herd in Africa, collaboration with Netherlands in processing dairy products beyond what is currently being done at the moment can foster economic growth.

He added that the parliament is looking forward to engaging in more productive dialogue that further strengthens bilateral relationship.

The Deputy Speaker said, “Your presence here at the People’s House stands as a testament to the deep-rooted historical ties and enduring friendship that bind our two nations. The parliament is aware of your presence in the country and the impact that you’re making. Take it back to the kingdom that the parliament of Nigeria is aware of the contribution you’re making to nation building. In 2022, bilateral trade between Nigeria and the Netherlands reached 7.7 billion Euros, with Nigeria enjoying a trade surplus of 5.2 billion Euros. Our trade relations continue to thrive.

“The Netherlands’ support for peacebuilding initiatives in Nigeria, especially in addressing conflicts in regions like the North East, is commendable. Specifically, the Kingdom of the Netherlands has provided crucial support to those affected by the Boko Haram insurgency for the past seven years. Let me also mention food system, if we secure lives and properties and we don’t secure food , lives and properties will be lost. We secure lives and food , that’s a sustainable approach towards having peace and security. I initiated a project known as Peace in the South East Project and one of the areas we want to solve as a non kinetic strategy towards solving the problems of insecurity in that area is food. Under its 8 pillars we have what we call “food for peace”. We have the short term and long term plans.

“I want to thank the Dutch Embassy to Nigeria for the crucial role it is playing in supporting the HortiNigeria program, which is transforming vegetable value chains in several key Nigerian states, including Kano, Kaduna, Ogun, and Oyo. We recognize the Netherlands’ strides in precision agriculture and its expertise in milk processing and other dairy products. Given Nigeria’s substantial livestock population and high demand for milk, there exists significant potential for partnership in value chain creation and processing. Nigeria’s total annual demand for milk stands at 1.45 billion liters, yet more than 90% of our milk comes from cattle in low-input, low-yielding pastoral systems. With Nigeria having the fifth-largest cattle herd in Africa, collaboration in milk processing and dairy products can help meet this demand and foster economic growth.”

Earlier, the Ambassador, Wouter Plomp told the Deputy Speaker that the Netherlands is very much interested in deepening cooperation in agriculture and other sectors, aimed at promoting these sectors, strengthening bilateral relations and mutual dialogue.

He informed the Deputy Speaker of a memorandum of understanding signed a fortnight ago with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on having bilateral consultations every year.

Plomp assured the parliament of more national coverage with their seed programme so as to not only promote the agri business but also the business in agricultural commodities for young people.