VP Shettima woos foreign investors for agric sector
He said Nigeria remains the best place to invest, given its 70 million hectares of underutilized arable land, which, according to him, is 75% of the country’s total land mass.
The Vice President stated this in Iowa, United States, during the 2023 Norman Borlaug International Dialogue.
VP Shettima noted that there were substantial opportunities in Nigeria for local and foreign investors to boost agricultural productivity.
The Norman E. Borlaug International Dialogue, also referred to as the “Borlaug Dialogue,” is a gathering of individuals from more than 65 countries fully prepared to address cutting-edge issues related to global food security and nutrition.
Speaking at this year’s edition of the Dialogue with the theme, “Harnessing Change,” the Vice President told the gathering that under President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s watch, Nigeria has since demonstrated that the Agrifood sector was a top priority.
Delivering his address titled, “Nigeria’s Agribusiness Roadmap for a Prosperous Future,” VP Shettima said, “Our primary objective is to empower our farmers and attract investors. We are increasing primary production to harness the economic potential of agro-processing and industrialisation. This is why, upon assuming office, the President declared a state of emergency in agriculture.
“The connection between food and national security is too significant for us not to be alarmed by happenings around the world, whether in response to unforeseen disasters like the COVID-19 pandemic or the geopolitical frictions around us.”
Restating Nigeria’s firm belief in the power of partnership, the VP explained that it was for this reason that the country had prioritized interventions, which he said present profound economic opportunities for investors.
VP Shettima listed the interventions to include the National Agriculture Growth Scheme (NAGS), the Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT), the Livestock Productivity and Resilience Support Project (L-PRES), the Green Imperative Project (GIP) and the Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZ) programmes.
“With the invaluable support of our partners, we are exploring innovative strategies to transform this quest for food security into a thriving enterprise,” he stated.
The Vice President highlighted critical areas Nigeria was assisting its farmers to increase productivity, including essential infrastructure for industries to increase their capacity.
VP Shettima said; “With about 70 million hectares of underutilized arable land, which is 75% of our total land area, Nigeria offers a substantial opportunity to both local and foreign investors to boost agricultural productivity. This is why we’ve embraced the TAAT, GIP, and SAPZ programmes and are investing in agricultural research through the National Agricultural Development Fund (NADF).
“This is why we are helping our farmers increase production and providing essential infrastructure for industries in peri-urban areas to expand their capacity. This, yes this, is the wisdom for our resolve to establish Mechanization Service Centres in all our 774 Local Government Areas to facilitate essential primary production services.”
He further stated that, while much of the demand for agribusiness products was satisfied through imports, the Tinubu administration is dedicated to reversing Nigeria’s over-reliance on importation.
VP Shettima noted that apart from the fact that its strategic location in West Africa provides easy access to regional and international markets, Nigeria was also poised to dismantle investment barriers.
Declaring that Nigeria was ready for agribusiness, the Vice President pointed out that the country was “committed to the journey towards a world where food security and nutrition are not luxuries but fundamental rights for all.”
President of the World Food Prize Foundation and former U.S. Ambassador to China, Terry Branstad, described Nigeria’s Vice President as a rare African statesman whose leadership qualities, loyalty as wandsense of commitment to nationhood and development can best be described as legendary.
He expressed optimism that the Bola Ahmed Tinubu Presidency would be successful given its devotion to results-oriented diplomacy.
Attending the Dialogue with the Vice President are Governor of Plateau State, Caleb Mutfwang, Minister of Agriculture, Abubakar Kyari; Consul General (New York), Amb. Lot Egopija, among others.