Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
The Federal Government, yesterday, urged Nigerians not to limit their business interface with Germany to the automobile industry.
This came as the Chief Executive Officer of the Pacific Ring West Africa Limited, producer of Cassanovas Chips, Thomas Hirsch, said he decided to site his factory in Nigeria since the country is the major producer of cassava in the world.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Mohammed Bello Umaru, gave the admonition on behalf of the government during the strategic alliance for reliable business relations and long-term benefits for local communities in Abuja between Pacific Ring West Africa Limited and GIZ, a German development agency. Umaru noted that Germany and Nigeria have been very good partners, adding that it is important that the partnership yields fruitful results in the areas of employment, security (including food security) and wealth creation.
Umaru stated that the three areas were very important to the two countries, adding that they have been traditional partners in trade, commerce, diplomatic exchange, including the different protocols binding both countries.
“Our economic ties and trade with Germany should not just end up with automobile relationship. We know that the best car to be driven in Nigeria today is Mercedes.
“Mercedes is a German car and an excellent global vehicle that has and is being acclaimed as one of the best vehicles,” Umaru said.
Umaru noted that the government believed that the Cassanovas Chips being produced by Pacific Ring West Africa Limited, in collaboration with Nigerians, will be one of the best products in the world. He added that the nation witnessed a paradigm shift from oil to agriculture, maintaining that agriculture is the mainstay of every economy.
“With agriculture development, business of this nature will prosper. Nigeria today is one of the largest producers of cassava. We are proud to say it and millions of Nigerians today are employed on cassava production,” Umaru added.
Umaru also said with companies like Pacific Ring West Africa Limited, a lot of Nigerians have embarked on cassava farming in order to meet up with their raw material demands, even as he said government hoped that more factories will be opened on zonal basis in Nigeria to cater for other rural farmers to embark on cassava production.
Giving a historical background of his foray into the Nigerian business environment, Hirsch said the journey started in one year making a research on internet and some books about cassava.
“And I googled growing, biggest producer of cassava and then, Nigeria came up. So, this was also our decision to go to the biggest producer because we said if we started, maybe we should become a big company in the end.
“So, if we need raw material, we should go to the country where the raw material is in abundance. So, I started to learn about Nigeria. I learned about the Starboy Wizkid, I learned about Nollywood, John Obi Mikel from Chelsea; so all this was very, very positive and then I saw also yes, you have human resources,” Hirsch said.
Hirsch further said having commenced production in September 2018, the company was able to export its first container to Germany where he also recently signed an agreement with Edeka, the biggest supermarket chain where the company is listed as the first Nigerian snack food in the history of Edeka.
Earlier, the GIZ Cluster Coordinator, Sustainable Economic Development, Hans-Ludwig Bruns, said GIZ is out to create meaningful jobs.
“We want to create jobs and this is one of our first Nigerian-German cooperation in this field. The point is, we want to use the talents of our people, we want to use the talents of the Nigerian people and the German people and we would like to learn from each other. And we would like to, not only create jobs, but we also want to create income for the people here in Nigeria,” Bruns said.