Nigeria, Morocco agree to promote agricultural cooperation

The minister of agriculture and rural development, Audu Ogbeh, and his Moroccan counterpart, Aziz Akhannouch, have signed a cooperation agreement on vocational training and technical support, which will enhance capacity for agricultural management in Nigeria.

The two countries signed three agreements on agricultural cooperation, a gas pipeline and a basic chemicals platform. Further discussions will focus on strengthening existing agreements on the fertiliser industry, education cooperation, the Nigeria-Morocco gas pipeline project and establishing a basic chemical platform to harness Nigeria’s vast natural gas resources and support Morocco’s diammonium phosphate industry.

Nigeria and Morocco had, in December 2016, signed a collaboration agreement to revive the abandoned Nigerian fertiliser blending plants. Following the signing of the agreement, 14 fertiliser plants have been revitalised so far under the Presidential Fertiliser Initiative with a capacity of 2.3 million metric tonnes of Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium (K) — NPK fertiliser.

The minister is on the entourage of President Muhammadu Buhari on his 2-day official visit to Morocco at the invitation of His Majesty, King Mohammed VI.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Nigeria’s strongest selling point remains an “intellectually aggressive and economically ambitious’’ populace that always seeks self-improvement and self-actualization in any part of the world, president Muhammadu Buhari said Monday in Rabat, Morocco.

In an audience with the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Morocco, Saadeddine Othmani, at the Royal Guest Palace, President Buhari said Nigeria’s “visionary and resilient population’’ works hard to always position the country for more growth.

He said the population is fueled by a largely youthful group that continually wants to contribute to development.

“Nigerians are intellectually aggressive and economically ambitious. I received some of our students here yesterday and I am really impressed with the zeal and fearlessness they exuded.

“In Nigeria we have a very young and aggressive population and we are working very hard to create the enabling and inclusive environment for their contributions to be better appreciated,’’ the president told the Prime Minister.

President Buhari said his government is harnessing the human and material resources available in the country, especially in the educational and agricultural sectors, while seeking partnerships with countries that can explore the huge potential in Nigeria.

The president noted that Nigeria was already on the verge of an agricultural revolution as the importation of rice had been cut down by 90 per cent in 18 months.

“We need to do more to improve our statistics on food production and graciously, the weather has been auspicious in the last couple of years for agricultural growth. We are happy that through partnership with you and hard work, the price of fertilizer is already down by 50 per cent,’’ he said.

On the three agreements signed during his visit, namely, Nigeria-Morocco gas pipeline project, vocational training in agriculture and building of a chemical plant in Nigeria, the president assured the Prime Minister that they will receive appropriate attention.

“We have a huge gas reserve in Nigeria, and we should be known more for gas exploration than for crude oil. So, we are happy with the new partnership with Morocco,’’ he added.

The Prime Minister said his country had always been impressed by Nigeria’s intellectual zeal and strength, noting that “many Moroccans appreciate the intellectual contribution of Nigerians, especially in literary works.’’

“Your visit to our country is historic and we are looking forward to more partnerships, especially among our universities, which would further consolidate our relationship,’’ Mr Othman said.

President Buhari also met with the head of the Moroccan legislature, Habib El Malki, and the president of the advisers on commerce, Ben Chemmas.

The Nigerian leader ended his two-day visit to the Kingdom of Morocco with a visit to the mausoleum where he laid wreaths on the tombs of past kings.

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