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Nigeria, Saudi Arabia partner on agric, trade

President Bola Tinubu | File Image

By Stella Woke

The Nigerian government and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have agreed to strengthen bilateral relations.

They will also  explore the huge potentials in Nigeria particularly in agriculture, trade and economic opportunities.

The two countries made the commitment on Thursday at a meeting between a delegation from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia led by its Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture, Engr Abdulrahman Alfadley, and the Nigerian delegation led by the Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Senator Abubakar Kyari; Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, Professor Joseph Terlumun Utsev; Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu; and Chairman, Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Abdulrahman Abdullazaq, held at Transcorp Hilton, Abuja.

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At the meeting, Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Senator Abubakar Kyari, explained that Nigeria was endowed with agricultural potential and investment opportunities that if properly harnessed, would boost food production that could feed the entire nation and be exported as well as enhance the economy of the country.

He said that it was part of a deliberate move to achieve food production and explore investment opportunities in the country that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu recently met with the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia with a follow-up meeting in Nigeria between the two countries to rekindle the  earlier commitment.

“It was as a result of the outpourings of the bilateral engagement we had when we accompanied  Mr. President to Saudi Arabia in November for the Saudi African Summit, where we had side meetings and I met with my colleague and counterpart from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Engineer Abdur Rahman Alfaddly, who has paid us a return visit.

“This visit, in a sense, like I said, was for us to partner.

We also have something to benefit from them. They also have something to benefit from us. They can come in and partner with us in terms of agricultural investments.

“We have a wide array of crops that they can invest in. So, we have never had it this good and look at the interest that has developed from the participation, even on the private sector, that have come in to show support and also to see opportunities that exist.,” he noted.

Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, Professor Joseph Terlumun Utsev, who highlighted the importance of water for irrigated agriculture, maintained that Nigeria was happy with the partnership and willing to provide all that was needed to enhance food production to achieve the food security drive of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu administration.

Besides, head of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia delegation, Engr Abdulrahman Alfadley, had said that they were in Nigeria to cement relationship between the two countries especially in the areas of comparative advantage including agriculture, investment, economy and job creation.

“Food production and food availability and accessibility is becoming on the top of the agenda of all countries, and we do believe that Nigeria has some comparative advantages and need to invest wisely in the agriculture, food sector, whereby we will be targeting, you know, the Nigerian market or exporting, you know, to the nearby countries.

“We are also aware that the challenge facing what’s called, you know, self-insufficiency is your ability to produce at a lower cost compared to what is from outside, because if we fail to do so, we will continue to inport, and at a certain point in time, we may not be able to inport, and the local production is not available. So, what we, I believe, need to do, the Saudi private sector, I think, is prepared, to examine all the opportunities with the Nigerian private sector,” he stated.

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