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By AgroNigeria, January 31, 2018
meeting 2 300x219Nigeria and Thailand are to strengthen ties in agriculture, especially in the areas of accessing handy agricultural machinery for processing and value addition.
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh stated this when he hosted the Thailand Ambassador to Nigeria, H.E, Mr. Wattana Kunwongse who paid him a courtesy visit in Abuja, Tuesday.
The visit is coming at a time when Nigeria’s rice imports from Thailand have reduced by over 95 per cent and the declaration by President Muhammadu Buhari that his administration would end rice imports this year.
“Two years ago, I appealed to people to go back to the land. I am highly gratified that agriculture has picked up, contributing to the government’s effort to restructure the economy. Rice imports will stop this year. Local rice, fresher and more nutritious will be on our dishes from now on,” Buhari had announced in his New Year broadcast to the nation.
According to statistics released by the Thai Rice Exporters Association, Nigeria’s rice imports have reduced drastically from 644,000 tonnes in September 2015 to only 20,000 tonnes currently.
Thailand Ambassador to Nigeria, H.E, Mr. Wattana Kunwongse noted that the move by Nigeria to end rice imports this year necessitated the shift in areas of cooperation between the two countries.
“Thailand used to be the largest rice exporter to Nigeria but it is no longer the case, as we are aware that Nigeria has shifted policy from importing to building self-sufficiency. We are happy to cooperate with Nigeria in the new horizon” Kunwongse said.
Late last year, the minister had disclosed that some investors from Thailand had indicated interest in setting up rice milling plants in the country, which he described as a step in the right direction to attain self-sufficiency in rice production in 2018.
https://agronigeria.com.ng/nigeria-thailand-strengthen-ties-agriculture/

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