Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Thursday invited Russian farmers to get involved in agricultural cultivation in Nigeria.
He gave the invitation while receiving a Russian delegation led by the Russian Minister of Agriculture who is also the Co-Chair of the Nigeria-Russia Joint Commission, Mr. Alexander Tkachev at the State House, Abuja.
He urged Russian farmers to invest in Nigeria, produce and export from here.
According to a statement by the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, Osinbajo said: “We are just 6 hours away from Europe by air. Vegetables, flour can be exported to Europe from here, even our local market here is a lot.”
He said that one of the reasons for cutting down on food importation into the country was its significant pressure on dwindling Nigeria’s foreign earnings.
“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 agriculture. It won’t make sense, if you don’t use the land,” he said.
The Vice President and the delegation that included the Russian Ambassador in Nigeria, Ambassador Nikolay Udovichenko, Russian Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Evgeny Gromyko and officials of Russian’s firm- United Company (Rusal) agreed that Nigeria and Russia should deepen the existing diplomatic relationship, especially economically.
Osinbajo said: “There is a lot of money to be made if Russian technology in agriculture is deployed locally,”
He also noted that there are better opportunities for economic cooperation between both countries.
Speaking earlier, the Russian Agriculture Minister expressed his country’s willingness to enhance the existing trade relations with Nigeria.
He said that the Nigeria-Russia trade volume as at the end of 2015 exceeded $300 million, but added that there are potentials for improvement in the years ahead.