By Salisu Sani-Idris
Abuja, Sept. 17, 2023
The Federal Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Republic of Cuba on food security and agriculture advancement.
The Director of Information, Office of the Vice President, Olusola Abiola, in a statement on Sunday, said the Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Abubakar Kyari, signed the MoU for the Nigerian Government, in Havana.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the signing of the MoU that was done on the sidelines of the ongoing G77+China Leaders’ Summit took place at the Ministry of Agriculture of Cuba in the presence of officials from both countries.
Kyari said the Expression of Interest (EOI) was a historic journey to strengthen the ties between Nigeria and Cuba in the field of agriculture.
He commended the willingness of the Cuban 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 and President Bola Tinubu’s vision for food and nutrition security.
“It is in this spirit that the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development evolved into the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security,” he said.
Kyari also 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.
He added: “Others were agricultural mechanisation, cutting-edge technologies for increased yields, and the reduction of post-harvest losses.
“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, development of pastures and ranching as essential components in curbing the challenges posed by inefficient open grazing of cattle.”
The minister listed other areas to include training, capacity building, and knowledge transfer as the cornerstone of any thriving agricultural economy.
Earlier, Cuba’s Minister of Agriculture, Ydael Brito, told the Nigerian delegation about the island nation’s agricultural prowess.
He said: “Cuba has over 500,000 hectares under cultivation and remains a global player in the export of tobacco, coffee, honey, and other commodities.”
Brito, who expressed delight at the opportunity to partner with Nigeria, stated that Cuba would provide impactful cooperation in identified areas contained in the MOU.
The host minister also highlighted Cuba’s agricultural human capital and different models of practices which have raised its productivity.
He assured that Cuba would deploy its wealth of experience to help Nigeria achieve its agriculture and food security policies.
Brito said: “Nigeria will benefit from Cuba’s agriculture capacity in areas such as bilateral relationship encompassing agricultural productivity, sustainability, knowledge sharing and technology transfer.”
Kyari was accompanied to the ceremony by Nigeria’s Ambassador to Cuba, Ben Okoyen and other members of the Nigerian delegation.
NAN reports that the Nigerian delegation to the G77 + China Leaders’ Summit in Cuba was led by Shettima, who represented Tinubu.