The Nigerian government on Thursday extended invitation to Russians to take advantage of the country’s arable land to produce and export agricultural products.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo gave the invitation when a Russian delegation led by the Russian Minister of Agriculture, Alexander Tkachev, called on him on Thursday.
“The oil prices have gone down tremendously and yet large amount of foreign exchange is used to purchase food abroad and we have large arable land for agric. It won’t make sense, if you don’t use the land,” Mr. Osinbajo said.
“We are inviting Russian farmers to invest in Nigeria, produce and import from here. We are just six hours away from Europe by air. Vegetables, flour can be exported to Europe from here. Even our local market here is a lot.”
Mr. Osinbajo said the availability of arable land in Nigeria made the case for improved local agricultural production in Nigeria an imperative, rather than continued importation with its significant pressure on dwindling foreign earnings of the country.
Both the vice president and the delegation that included Russian deputy minister of agriculture, Evgeny Gromyko, and officials of Russian firm (Rusal) agreed that the two countries should deepen the existing diplomatic relationship, especially economically.
The vice president assured his visitors, which included the Russian ambassador in Nigeria, Nikolay Udovichenko, there was a lot of money to be made if Russian technology in agriculture was deployed locally.
Earlier, the Russian agriculture minister, who is the Co-Chair of the Nigeria-Russia Joint Commission, expressed his country’s willingness to enhance the existing trade relations with Nigeria.
He noted that the Nigeria-Russia trade volume as at the end of 2015 exceeded $300 million, adding that there were potentials for improvement in the years ahead.
The Russian minister said there were better opportunities for economic cooperation between both countries.