Thursday, July 26, 2012

Nigeria to Procure $1.2 Billion on Casava, Rice Plant From China

Nigeria to procure $1.2bn on cassava, rice processing plants from China .

Friday, 27 July 2012 00:00 From Joke Akanmu, Abuja Business Services - Business News
Nigerian Guardian

THE Federal Government has unfolded plans to import 18 cassava processing plants from China, as part of efforts to add value to the commodity.

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, who disclosed this when the President of China Bank of Development, Wang Weidong, led a delegation to his office in Abuja, said that the government is also in the process of acquiring 100 integrated rice mills from the far East Asian country.

Adesina disclosed that the rice and cassava processing mills are worth $1.2 billion, noting that negotiations are ongoing between Nigeria and China Export-import Bank on the financing deal for the procurement.

He said that the cassava and rice processing mills would be installed in different parts of the country, to reduce food import dependent profile of the country.

“Nigeria spends $3 billion yearly to import rice and President Goodluck Jonathan wants that to be reduced through local rice production and processing,” he said.

The minister noted that due to advancement of rice production in China, Chinese rice farmers produce 12.5 metric tonnes per hectare, as against the 2.5 metric tonnes per hectare produced in Nigeria.

He however, solicited assistance from the Chinese government in boosting rice production in Nigeria.

While urging the China Development Bank to increase its financing from the current $300 million to $3 billion, he said the Nigerian government is willing to partner with the development bank.

He said: “We can co-invest in the 100 rice mills, the 18 high quality flour processing mills and in hybrid rice, you can scale up your support for us on rice, I will like to see China co-operating with Nigeria in the areas of Biotechnology, power generation for rice and cassava processing mills and in the area of rural development, so as to erase rural poverty.”

The assistance, according to him could be achieved through the International Poverty Reduction Centre in China.

Weidong remarked that China and Nigeria are agro-based countries, assuring that the Chinese government would render the needed assistance.

He said some of the other areas Nigeria and China could partner are farmland development and the production of fertiliser and use, just like in the Chinese jute system.

Lauding the Agricultural Transformation Agenda of the Federal Government, he said the bank would discuss marketing strategies for Nigeria’s agricultural products in China.

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