Deji Elumoye in Abuja
On the sidelines of the G77 + China Leaders’ Summit in Havana, the Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Senator Abubakar Kyari, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on behalf of Nigeria on food security and agriculture advancement with Cuba.
The Expression of Interest (EOI) was a historic journey to strengthen the ties between Nigeria and Cuba in the field of agriculture.
The signing ceremony took place at the Ministry of Agriculture of Cuba in the presence of officials from both countries.
During the pre-signing meeting, Kyari lauded the willingness of Cuba’s government to partner with Nigeria, noting that both countries share a common vision for their people.
The minister expressed heartfelt gratitude for the shared insights into Nigeria’s pressing food and agricultural opportunities and challenges.
He also underlined Nigeria’s demographic advantage, vast land resources, immense agricultural potential, promoting President Bola Tinubu’s vision for food and nutrition security.
According to him: “It was in this spirit that the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development evolved into the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security”.
Kyari extended a hand of partnership to his Cuban counterparts with a focus on vital areas such as bio-fortification of agricultural produce, improvement of agricultural seeds and seedlings, agricultural mechanisation, cutting-edge technologies for increased yields, and the reduction of post-harvest losses.
The minister also said, “Nigeria is keenly interested in collaborating with Cuba in the domains of poultry, livestock, and fisheries.
Key areas of cooperation include veterinary medicine, vaccine development, artificial insemination, and the development of pastures and ranching as essential components in curbing the challenges posed by inefficient open grazing of cattle.”
Others are training, capacity building, and knowledge transfer as the cornerstone of any thriving agricultural economy.
Also speaking, Cuba’s Minister of Agriculture, Ydael Jesus Perez Brito, who signed the MoU, told the Nigerian delegation about the island nation’s agricultural prowess, admitting that the country has “over 500,000 hectares under cultivation” and remains “a global player in the export of tobacco, coffee, honey, and other commodities.”
Brito expressed delight at the opportunity to partner with Nigeria stating that his country would provide impactful cooperation in identified areas contained in the MoU.
The host minister highlighted Cuba’s agricultural human capital and different models of practices which have raised its productivity.
He also explained that his country would deploy its wealth of experience to help Nigeria achieve its agriculture and food security policies.
Nigeria will benefit from Cuba’s agriculture capacity in areas such as bilateral relationship encompassing agricultural productivity, sustainability, knowledge sharing and technology transfer.