The Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with ABG Paulas Resources, a German consultancy firm to fund agricultural development activities in the country. The signing of the MoU, which took place at ARCN headquarters in Abuja will be pivotal to the private sector development of crops.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, ARCN Executive Secretary, Professor Garba Sharubutu, noted that it was a very important event which ties into four out of the nine mandates of ARCN, namely, extension and research; supervision of all agricultural research institutions in the country; establishing linkage and cooperation with agricultural organisations within and outside the country to ensure food security and sourcing of funding for research to develop technology for farmers.
Sharubutu said, “ARCN is actively seeking out international bodies for support because of funds paucity, approaching donor agencies to collaborate with the private sector to secure funding. Having studied the profile of ABG as a foreign-based yet Nigerian organisation, we are seeking collaboration with them in line with our mandate which will be well put to good use in the sector.”
He noted that ABG has studied the Nigerian situation and feels the responsibility to contribute its quota as an ambassador of the agricultural sector.
He added: “This is an epoch-making MoU between these two entities, with ARCN as the client and ABG as the consultant,” he said. The ES assured the ABG group that the Council will live up to its billing in terms of reliability and further promised to oblige them of the full support of all related institutes across the country.
He noted that the sector is still grappling with two major challenges – COVID-19 and the regional insurgency that has caused under-utilisation of the country’s natural resources, adding that the Federal Government is committed to making things work as long as every stakeholder, private and public, play their roles and stick to their mandates.
In his remarks, the Managing Director of ABG, Mr. Ambrose Okojie, said, “we are trying to build synergy to develop the agricultural sector in particular and Nigeria in general. To end the perilous migration frequently undertaken by many of our able-bodied youths, I chose to embrace agriculture, to provide jobs, train and empower youths in order to move the nation forward.
“We have signed an agreement with the German government to provide 30 megawatts of solar power and help to develop green houses, the projects are worth $100 million and will be 100 per cent funded by the German government. We are also looking to sign a power purchase agreement with the Federal Government.”
Okojie expressed confidence that with hard work based on ethics, results will be visible soon.
The Executive Director of ABG, Mr. Charles Ozoemena, also assured ARCN that the MoU will be sufficiently executed to advance the Council’s mandate and also advance the development of the agricultural sector and by extension, the Nigerian economy.
“We want to encourage the involvement of youths in agriculture to enable the transition from an ageing population of farmers in the country. We will be giving them the opportunities to engage more in mechanised farming and food processing. We are also looking forward to organising the first ever expo on root crops such as potato, onions, among others, that are grown in the country in September,” Ozoemena said.