Michael Olugbode in Abuja
A Nigerian company and its Ghanaian counterpart have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) towards boosting production of agricultural produce.
The MoU was signed between a Nigerian company, EGTA Investment Limited and a Ghanaian conglomerate, Jospong Group of Companies, at the Ghana High Commission in Abuja, at the weekend.
The MoU was signed under the supervision of the Minister of State for Water Resources, Alhaji Bello Goronyo and Ghanaian Deputy High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Eddison Agbenyegah.
Also at the signing of the MoU which was centered on boosting rice farming, wheat, soya beans, yellow corn, and sunflower production, among others, was the President of Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), Mr. Aminu Goronyo,
Speaking at the event, the Group Managing Director of ECTA, Mr. Bashir Ibrahim, underscored the need for adequate investment towards growth of Africa through cooperation, financial, social and political relationships between African nations.
Ibrahim said: “It is on that basis that the EGTA delegation went to Ghana to negotiate this historic MoU; this led ECTA delegation to Ghana and Jospong delegation to Nigeria.
“To negotiate and come to agreement on this MoU, built on the long standing friendly relations that has existed since independence between Ghana and Nigeria.
“In fact, if there are any two countries that are close to the extent that event in one country leads to same event in another, it is Nigeria and Ghana.
“So the signing of this MoU is in line with that tradition. The future of Africa depends on this concept of cooperation, financial investment, technical, social, economic, and political cooperation between African nations,” he explained.
He described the agreement between both entities as an extension of the historic relationship between Ghana and Nigeria, noting that EGTA ⁃Jospong MoU would cover production of agricultural commodities; and also provide technical, financial and investment cooperation, as well as training and capacity building of Ghanaians in the agriculture ecosystem.
He explained that the agreement was one out of many with other foreign partners made possible by President Bola Tinubu administration’s business-friendly commitment to make private sector key drivers in economic diversification.
Also speaking, George Blavo, who signed the MoU on behalf of Jospong, said the agreement was “basically aimed at lifting people of Ghana from poverty through agricultural development.
Blavo, also Lead Coordinator, Rice Project, said the agreement was in line with Ghana’s agricultural agenda of adding value to the agricultural food chain, food-security, reducing food imports, with private sector as pivotal force.
“We are hopeful this MOU will further strengthen the Nigeria -Ghana bilateral relationship; which must ensure that partnership betwen Ghana and Nigeria is given priority.
“In Ghana, we cherish the long standing relationship between our two countries and it is our hope that this partnership will grow from strength-to-strength, for our mutual benefits,” he said.
He commended Ghana-Nigeria relationship to have been bordered by economic, trade and investment, technology, security and agriculture.
According to him, the ceremony attested to the long standing relationship that existed between both countries.
For his part, Agbenyegah said Ghana seeks to learn best practice from Nigeria, which had since become “Rice Super Power” the country has become one of the leading producers of rice in Africa.
“We are all aware that Nigeria is the biggest producer of rice and the contribution of EGTA to this achievement is well known to all of us.
“We are going to ride on the policies and business policies the Federal Government of Nigeria will reel out, to make this kind of cooperation easy and even, more fruitful.
“We are happy to be partners in this private sector initiative in deepening rice production in Ghana
“Ghana is hosting the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA) Secretariat, therefore we want to deepen cooperation to propel regional growth,” he said.
Jospong is a Ghanaian company with business interest in over 14 sectors spanning 60 subsidiaries with operations in Africa and Asia.
Meanwhile, the President of RIFAN, Goronyo, explained that Nigeria made remarkable progress in rice production over the previous decade after banning importation of rice.