©2010 Copyright The Embassy of Nigeria The Hague, The Netherlands
SPEECH DELIVERED BY H.E. DR. (MRS.) N.N. AKANBI, ON THE OCCASION OF COURTESY CALL
ON HIS EXCELLENCY DR. GOODLUCK JONATHAN (GCON) VICE PRESIDENT FEDERAL REPUBLIC
OF NIGERIA, BY THE AGRICULTURAL TRADE MISSION TO NIGERIA FROM THE NETHERLANDS
1. It is with honour and pleasure that I bring to you a team of businessmen in the agricultural sector from the Netherlands on a courtesy call.
2. Your Excellency, Sir, the team is in Nigeria on agricultural Trade Mission. The mission will not be complete without a visit to you sir we therefore decided to pay our homage to you.
3. The purpose of the Agricultural Trade Mission to Nigeria by the Netherlands African Business Council/the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality in partnership with the Nigerian Embassy in The Hague, is to facilitate valuable and sustainable trade relations between Nigeria and the Netherlands as well as contribute to the further development of Nigeria’s agricultural sector.
4. The Agricultural Trade Mission is therefore in line with the agenda of government as it supports one of the seven point agenda of Mr. President namely Food Security in the agricultural sector. We appreciate and commend government’s policy and focus on food security. We are hopeful that the situation where Nigeria remains a net importer of food will be reversed if initiative such as agricultural trade mission for investment into agriculture is embraced and supported.
5. We believe that the agricultural sector of Nigeria’s economy holds the key to the revitalisation of the economy because agriculture contributes significantly to the country’s GDP and revenue base and it is the largest employer of labour in the country.
6. May I seize the opportunity of this occasion to inform you that the Agricultural Trade Mission has been to Lagos and Kwara States and will visit Kano on the last lap of the Mission. We have also visited the Honourable Ministers of Foreign Affairs and the Honourable Minister of Agriculture.
7. Sir, I am pleased to report that we had useful and productive engagements with the Governors of Lagos and Kwara, policy makers and other stakeholders in the agricultural sector. We are convinced that the outcome of our interaction and the discussions with the Governors, other policy makers and stakeholders in the agricultural sector will provide a framework for future interaction between the Nigerian agro based businessmen and those of the Netherlands.
8. Sir we are pleased to note that the Governors and the Minister have all assured us of their support and that of their Ministries in the implementation of the out come of the trade mission.
9. May I also disclose that we have, during our visit to the states, urged the state Governors to support the land reform of the Federal Government because we believe that valid and legitimate land ownership is inextricably linked to agricultural growth.
10. Your Excellency we are of the opinion that if land use in Nigeria is liberalised, land transactions will become much easier and that farmers would be able to use their land as collateral to secure bank loans. We commend government’s decision and plans in this regard and especially the plan by government to increase the proportion of Nigeria’s land mass covered by valid land title from 3% to 60% through its land reform programme.
11. We shall be honoured Your Excellency to listen to your wise counsel and thoughts on the Trade Mission and to further learn about the programmes of government regarding investments into the agricultural sector of our great country.
12. We are also convinced that, with your support and that of other stakeholders, the relations between Nigeria and the Kingdom of the Netherlands, can be further expanded, through this initiative, to boost the interaction between Nigeria and the Netherlands in the agricultural sector. This will no doubt enable Nigerian agricultural entrepreneurs to learn from the wealth of experience of their Dutch counterparts in horticulture, food processing and packaging.
13. I therefore request Your Excellency to support our initiative so that in the near future Nigeria/Netherlands relations will witness increase in agricultural business for the benefit of our countries.
14. Your Excellency, may I at this juncture, express my gratitude to you for the reception you accorded me and the delegation from the Netherlands. I wish to assure you that the Agricultural Trade Mission will immediately commence the work of transforming the outcome of our mission into action for the benefit of Nigeria and the Netherlands.
15. I thank you Your Excellency.