Nigeria, Japan sign MoU on rice seeds production enhancement

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By Vivian Emoni

The Nigeria and Japan governments on Thursday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on enhancement of rice seed production system and diagnostic capacity in Nigeria.

The Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, Sen. Atiku Bagudu, signed the MoU on Exchange of Notes and Records of discussion on the enhancement of rice seed production and diagnostic capacity projects, in Abuja.

Bagudu said that Japan had achieved a lot in the agricultural sector, especially in rice seed production and technology.

According to him, the government of Japan ensures that small scale holder farmers are supported to produce and generate more from their land.

He said that in Nigeria also, our major objective is to include everyone so that those small scale holder farmers particularly the family-based can do better.

“In spite Japan’s leading achievement in technology and mechanisation, the country was able to maintain a land holding system in it’s agriculture.

“The Japanese have helped us with seeds in agriculture, also in technology, but I believe that the Federal Ministry of Agriculture is also trying their best to support small scale farmers.

“Equally, agriculture is science, meaning that, seed is at the foundation of transformation in agriculture.

“There are many of our farmers who have inherited rice production across the country. They are Oyo, Ebonyi, Taraba states, in fact they are everywhere in all parts of Nigeria.

“The one tragic thing is that most of them are using the incorrect seed. Seeds that have not been preserved properly,” he said.

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Rice seeds

The minister said that the support of the farmers by the Japanese government would increase productivity, thereby, reducing deflation in the country .

He said that the support was also very significant and would enhance development and reduce hardship in the country.

He thanked the Japanese government for its effort to improve agriculture and health sectors of the country.

Bagudu said that the support on the diagnostic capacity project would improve the Nigeria’s Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), and be of benefit to Nigeria.

“I was glad when the representative of the NCDC introduced herself as the implementing agency.

” This is because typically, we have struggled with these issues that a lot of donors or development partners are hesitant to make our institutions implementing partners.

“So, supporting us and recognising one of our institutions as competent is a big endeavour.

“We believe the institution is competent. We know our capacity but this is an additional recognition that we value as we are recognised, mandated and entrusted with the ability to implement the support and so, we thank you.

“I am honored today to confirm that the government of Nigeria has accordingly agreed to sign this exchange of record of this discussion.

Earlier, the Japan Ambassador to Nigeria, Amb. Matsunaga Kazuyoshi, said his country would continue to be committed in working hand in hand with Nigeria to achieve the goal and create more resilient.

Kazuyoshi said that the Japan and Nigeria governments have a long history of partnership in various sectors.

He said that the signing of the MoU was a testament for both countries to continue being committed in improving the lives of citizens.

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“So, I am confident that no matter what challenges lie ahead, the steadfast collaboration between Nigeria and Japan will enable us to overcome any obstacle.

The ambassador said that the Japan government had supported Nigeria to tackle infection diseases in the health sector.

“The aim of the project is to help Nigeria to detect and respond to infectious diseases by establishing a state of art biosafety laboratory within the NCDC.

He said that the project was not only significant to Nigeria but to the entire African continent.

He said that the partnership between the two countries extended to agriculture sector, adding that the Japan government was making efforts to ensure that it enhances productivity, food security among others in Nigeria.

He said that 40 per cent of sesame seed consumed in Japan were sourced from Nigeria and about 50 million of Japan population enjoyed the sesame seeds.

“These sesame seeds’ oil product is one of the best selling items in Japan. These facts demonstrate the high quality of Nigeria agriculture products,” he said. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)

Edited by Vivian Ihechu

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