In this interview with Zubairu Abdullahi, Director of planning & policy Coordination, Department of the Ministry of Agriculture Abuja, he speaks about the impact of CGC agricultural demonstration centres to Nigeria.
What do you think of the Agricultural demonstration center and how can it serve as a model for China-Nigeria Agricultural cooperation.
For a very long time China and Nigeria have had a very good relationship, the relationship if they don’t materialize in concrete work then it just remain a statement ,But China has made a bold effort now ,they have started addressing the basic challenges that Nigerian farmers face ,this demonstration center is the Chinese way of transferring some level of technology to our rural farmers ,this process center has a lot of areas ,as it can serve as a demonstration process ,every other processor can see the way of doing things and open a wide market for their produce, Nigerians are in the Business of producing a lot of crops ,but will always want to sell them as a produce.
The Chinese demonstration center will give an opportunity for a further processing of this little produce so it can create product that can become a little bit more packaged and they could have good market appeal ,so indirectly this is an intervention that will help open the market for farmers ,within the catchment area and if the farmers within the catchment area are making good profit then you can be rest assured other farmers would want to do the same thing and would want to copy from what happens here ,because if I produce the same crop and I get certain profit and the another person produce the same crop and he process his own through this your technology and get a higher profit ,you don’t need to tell this other farmer to come and join this one, so this is the beauty of this China Nigeria cooperation.
This is the first concretization of all the past agreement and understanding Nigeria has had with China, this demonstration center is unique and it is beautiful and it is acceptable.
What are your expectation for this project in the future?
The expectations are these ,like I told you this thing is going to be a major game changer for our farmers ,so there will be greater demands for the intervention from China to other areas ,Now Nigeria has six agro zones ,if you have done this one in the central part of Nigeria ,there is a possibility that you have to do the same demonstration with a different specific crop attachment to it North western part of Nigeria ,the North east would want another demonstration center, the south west would want one ,the south east would want one and the south south would want one, because if you go to south south it will be fish processing ,if you go to the south west it is Cocoa and other things ,if you go south east it will be rubber ,it will be root crops it will be so many things ,So the essential part of this thing is that this demonstration center is the first ,y the time it has come into full operation ,people would have seen the positive side of it and many people would jump to say we want it, so in the future there is a possibility that Nigeria and China will agree to replicate this noble project in all the six geo political zones ,I see in the future that the product produced will be processed better, and China will open a market for Nigerians ,so that many things will be produced there ,processed there , and now be taking directly to china, this is the beautiful part of it , because Nigeria import a lot from China, Nigeria want China to take so many things from their country to Nigeria and we have the same beautiful understanding and relationship ,what China considered good as import to eat the western would want to bring long processes ,but for china and Nigeria there is a good understanding, there are many things that can move from Nigeria to china in an organize fashion and there are many good things that can come from China to Nigeria in an organized fashion, Now this demonstration center is a learning process for china and Nigeria ,when you start this process you will discover that the farmers that are producing are still using the primitive method of production like I mention to your cultural team, there are so many other simple machinery that are going to be useful to a peasant farmer that China has produced and have demonstrated ,for example you have the Agriculture production here, the Nigerian –China Agriculture cooperation project, then farmers scattered here are using primitive farm tools now this center will demand for more and more and more and then the production capacity of the farmers will be limited to primitive implement ,now because they are demanding for more they will be able to pay for more simple technology the Chinese has produced that can be used to improve their production, China will discover that the primitive tools will not allow farmers to produce to meet up with demands , so China will bring simple technology tools that will help farmers produce more. So it’s a learning process for China to learn how our production systems work and to inject new ideas.so when you train this people to improve their production then all other regions will come to say we need it ,so it’s a two way sword ,china will benefit from it because you will have to bring the tools from you, then Nigeria will benefit because our productivity will go higher
What role does the demonstration center play in promoting Agricultural Modernization by using Agricultural science and technology?
Yes. If you bring the machines here you are modernizing the Nigerian Agriculture, But one of the expectation is that China should not just do it and hands off, No! China should be part of the management with the intention of passing the technology to the people till it grow, we would work with you ,I don’t want China to do it and pullout ,I want China to be there until this thing is well embraced in Nigeria.
. Is there any other Agricultural demonstration project in Nigeria, and what are the difference between these projects?
yes, I’ve not visited the place but I was told South Korea have done one in Kogi state., the difference with that one is that it is a cassava processing plant ,it processes cassava only ,the one John weyn is doing covers more than one ,that of China is all encompassing Agricultural processing system ,then the one done by South Korea is cassava processing plant, which is only for Cassava.
With the outbreak of war between Russia and Ukraine, the whole world maybe will have to face food crisis, do you think what kind of effort that Nigeria will make to protect Nigerian people.
The crisis between Russia and Ukraine is a sad development for all of us ,Nigeria is not happy and Nigeria doesn’t want any crisis with anybody ,Nigeria do not want crisis to happen in Ukraine or Russia or in any part of the world ,whenever there is a crisis in the international ecosystem it affects Africa and many other countries ,Nigeria is not an exception ,we buy a lot of wheat and fertilizer from Russian –Ukraine axis ,if this thing is affecting the supply ,definitely there will be problem with the production of wheat, there will be a problem with availability of fertilizer in Nigeria ,that means there will be low productivity and Nigeria coming from the effect of covid 19 and coming out of the problem of flooding last year, then climate changes and its effect on productivity ,with the banditry and so many other crisis within the country ,additional burden of Ukraine Russia crisis is not going to be good for Nigeria ,the beautiful part of it is that the federal Government is aware ,invariably is making effort so it does not affect Nigerians very well, there is a frantic effort to make available fund to farmers to encourage them to produce more and more for the teaming population, this is where China can come in ,China can support Nigeria as China always do during the times of need ,this is where china can support Nigeria in filling the gap and making sure that the inflow, like this beautiful demonstration center and so many things are increased for the period , because actually within the next two three months the impact of Ukraine Russia war will be felt all over the world, so there is need for us to be proactive toward the Chinese Government in giving us support .