FG, Republic of Ireland to Partner on Agriculture, Energy


By Dele Ogbodo in Abuja

As part of its commitment to diversify the economy using agricultural and energy sectors as drivers to industrialisation, the federal government plans to enter into partnership with the Republic of Ireland to improve the skills of Nigerians in science, research and innovation.

Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya  Onu, made the disclosure, when the Ambassador of Ireland to Nigeria, Mr. Sean Hoy, paid him a visit in Abuja, with representatives of Nine Irish Education Companies.

The minister said Nigerians are desirous of working with Ireland on research and innovation noting that Ireland’s model of industrialisation is attractive with clear road for implementation.

Onu, commended the Irish government for being the highest exporter of Pharmaceutical products, which has attracted international business to the country.

He said: “You have highly educated workforce who is very attractive to companies that rely on knowledge, we desire to move from resource based to knowledge based economy.

“We need to improve drastically on energy to improve industrialisation, Food Science is of great interest because we are working very hard to feed ourselves, we were carried away by oil, we used to spend money importing rice.

“Science and Technology is important in the Agricultural chain because it has strong link with the industry, we will encourage our people to benefits from facilities available in Ireland.”

Earlier in a remark, Hoy, said that the Irish government is responding to request from colleagues in Nigeria to look at ways to diversify the economy by bringing new skills into the economy.

According to the Ambassador, “For a long time Nigeria has relied too long on oil and now we have to look at agriculture and also about bringing high tech industry into this country because this is a big market.

“What we have in Ireland is experience where we tuned our education system to what the market needs, we need to provide students with skills which the industry needs, we have a number of thousands of   big high tech companies in Ireland and they go there because they have young students that are well qualified.”

He said Ireland is the fastest growing economy in Europe because of the quality of research and education and also pledged to collaborate with Nigerian Universities in the area of research on food Science, engineering and technology.

The federal government recently announced plans to construct about 10 new dams in the 36 states of the federation, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). The construction of the projects known as PROJECT 10/37, it said, will begin in 2017. The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, disclosed this at the public presentation of the water sector roadmap with the theme: “Immediate and Long Term Strategies for the Water Sector 2016-2030,” organised by the Ministry of Water Resources in Abuja.

He said: “We hope to create, in the next few years, 10 dams in each States of the federation. We have a project coming up next year called PROJECT 10/37, we are looking at a minimum of ten dams in each States including the FCT.”

He noted that the Nigeria’s Agriculture sector is in dire need of water even as the Minister added that the country can no longer rely solely on rainfall to sustain its agriculture.