A new agreement on food security and agricultural development has been reached between Nigeria and Cuba. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by the Nigerian Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Senator Abubakar Kyari, and his Cuban counterpart, Gustavo Rodriguez Rollero, during the G77 + China Leaders’ Summit in Havana.
The MoU aims to enhance cooperation and exchange of experiences between the two countries in the areas of crop production, livestock, fisheries, biotechnology, irrigation, mechanization, and agro-industry. It also seeks to promote trade and investment opportunities in the agricultural sector.
According to a press release from the Office of the Vice President, Senator Kyari said the MoU was a milestone in the bilateral relations between Nigeria and Cuba. He praised Cuba’s achievements in agriculture and expressed Nigeria’s interest in learning from its best practices. He also highlighted Nigeria’s strengths and potentials in agriculture, as well as its challenges and opportunities.
The minister thanked President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for his vision and support for food and nutrition security in Nigeria. He also expressed appreciation to the Cuban government for its willingness and readiness to partner with Nigeria in this important sector.
“It was in this spirit that the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development evolved into the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security,” he said.
Kyari extended a hand of partnership to his Cuban counterpart for a focus on vital areas, such as bio-fortification of agricultural produce, improvement of agricultural seeds and seedlings, agricultural mechanisation, cutting-edge technologies for increased yields, and the reduction of post-harvest losses.
The minister stressed that “Nigeria is keenly interested in collaborating with Cuba in the domains of poultry, livestock, and fisheries”.
Key areas of the cooperation include veterinary medicine, vaccine development, artificial insemination, and the development of pastures and ranching as essential components in curbing the challenges posed by inefficient open grazing of cattle.
Others are: training, capacity building, and knowledge transfer as the cornerstone of any thriving agricultural economy.
The Cuban Minister of Agriculture, Ydael Jesus Perez Brito, who signed on behalf of his country, said that Cuba has a strong agricultural sector with more than 500,000 hectares of land under cultivation. He added that Cuba is a major exporter of tobacco, coffee, honey and other products to the global market.
Brito expressed his satisfaction with the partnership with Nigeria and assured that Cuba would offer effective collaboration in the areas identified in the MoU. He also mentioned Cuba’s agricultural human capital and various models of practices that have enhanced its productivity. He said that Cuba would share its experience and knowledge with Nigeria to help the country achieve its agricultural and food security goals.
The Nigerian delegation to the G77 + China Leaders’ Summit in Cuba was headed by Vice President Kashim Shettima, who represented President Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Shettima witnessed the signing of the MoU along with Nigeria’s Ambassador to Cuba, Ben Okoyen, and other members of the delegation.