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Nigeria, Japan sign MoU to enhance rice seeds production

The federal government has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Japan on the enhancement of the rice seeds production system and diagnostic capacity in Nigeria.

Atiku Bagudu, minister of budget and economic planning, signed the MoU on the exchange of notes and records of discussion on the enhancement of rice seeds production and diagnostic capacity projects, on Thursday.

Speaking during the MoU signing in Abuja, the minister said Japan had achieved a lot in the agricultural sector, especially in rice seed production and technology.

According to Bagudu, the government of Japan ensures that small-scale farmers are supported to produce and generate more from their land.

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In Nigeria, he said the major objective is to include everyone so that those who are small-scale farmers, particularly the family-based, can do better.

“In spite of Japan’s leading achievement in technology and mechanisation, the country was able to maintain a land-holding system in its agriculture,” he said.

“The Japanese have helped us with seeds in agriculture, also in technology, but I believe that the Federal Ministry of Agriculture is also trying their best to support small-scale farmers.

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“Equally, agriculture is science, meaning that seed is at the foundation of transformation in agriculture.

“There are many of our farmers who have inherited rice production across the country. They are Oyo, Ebonyi, and Taraba states, in fact, they are everywhere in all parts of Nigeria.

“The one tragic thing is that most of them are using the incorrect seed. Seeds that have not been preserved properly.”

Bagudu said the support of farmers by the Japanese government would increase productivity, thereby, reducing inflation in the country.

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He said the support would also enhance development and reduce hardship in the country, noting that the diagnostic capacity project would improve Nigeria’s Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and be of benefit to the nation.

On his part, Matsunaga Kazuyoshi, envoy of Japan to Nigeria, said the Asian country would continue to work hand in hand with Nigeria to achieve the goal and create more resilience.

Kazuyoshi said the Japanese and the Nigerian governments have a long history of partnership in various sectors, adding that the MoU is a testament for both countries to continue being committed to improving the lives of citizens.

“So, I am confident that no matter what challenges lie ahead, the steadfast collaboration between Nigeria and Japan will enable us to overcome any obstacle,” he said.

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‘40% SESAME SEEDS CONSUMED IN JAPAN SOURCED FROM NIGERIA’ 

The envoy said the Japanese government had supported Nigeria to tackle infectious diseases in the health sector.

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“The aim of the project is to help Nigeria to detect and respond to infectious diseases by establishing a state-of-art biosafety laboratory within the NCDC,” Kazuyoshi said.

He said the project is not only important to Nigeria but also to the entire African continent.

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Kazuyoshi also said the Japanese government is making efforts to ensure that it enhances productivity, food security, among others in Nigeria.

The Japanese government official said 40 percent of sesame seeds consumed in Japan are sourced from Nigeria and about 50 million of Japan’s population enjoy the sesame seeds.

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According to Kazuyoshi, the sesame seed oil products are one of the best-selling items in Japan, demonstrating the high quality of Nigeria’s agricultural products.

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