From Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
The Nigerian Ambassador to the State of Qatar, Yakubu Ahmed, has called for cooperation between Nigeria and Qatar in the area of food production.
Ahmed made the call during a courtesy visit to the Headquarters of Hassad Food, one of the biggest players in the food industry in Doha, Qatar.
The spokesperson, Embassy of Nigeria, Doha, Qatar, Kimiebi Imomotimi Ebienfa, in a statement made available to Daily Sun in Abuja, said Ahmed was received on arrival by the Vice President of the Group, Ali Hilal Al Kuwari.
Ebienfa disclosed that the Nigerian envoy used the occasion to discuss ways of collaboration between the company and agro-based agencies in Nigeria, particularly in the areas of supply and processing of food products.
‘The Ambassador reiterated the fact that Nigeria is rich in agriculture and is ready for investments in the food chain to ensure maximum utilisation of its potentials,’ Ebienfa stated.
‘In the course of their discussion, the Ambassador invited Hassad Food Company to take advantage of investment opportunities across the various agricultural value chains in Nigeria. Specifically, His Excellency encouraged the company to participate in mechanised crop production (such as rice, maize, millet, cassava, sugar cane, tomato and the cash crops such as cocoa, palm kernel, rubber, among others), fruit juice/canned fruits processing, food processing and preservation.
‘Other areas include farming and processing of livestock, dairy and aquaculture, supply of agricultural input and machinery, as well as international commodity trading and transportation. Additionally, the Ambassador highlighted that there is a local demand for improved seeds, agrochemicals, veterinary drugs, vaccines, feeds and feeds ingredients.
‘His Excellency further disclosed that the Nigerian Government has deliberately designed investment incentives such as tax holidays, exemptions, and reliefs to support private sector participation in the sector. This, he added, has boosted the performance of the sector in recent times as exemplified by foreign trade where agricultural goods in Q1 2021 contributed N757.4 billion, representing 7.76 per cent of the total export. Major traded agricultural products within the period included sesamum seeds, cocoa beans, cashew nuts, coconuts, ginger, palm nuts and kernels and shea cake.’
Ebienfa added that delighted to hear the opportunities available in Nigeria the Vice President of Hassad Food Company asserted that certainly, the company has now developed an appetite to enter into the Nigerian market for mutually beneficial partnerships.
‘As a new frontier, the Vice President said they will start with the trade of Nigerian agricultural commodities to test the viability of such partnership following which concrete investment may develop. He advised that the two countries can use lamb as a launchpad commodity from which to expand into products,’ the statement read.