Benin seeks Nigeria, Benin sign deal to end rice importation

March 10, 2021
5 Views

Leke Baiyewu, Abuja

The Federal Government and the Republic of Benin have reached a deal to end importation of rice in the Economic Community of West African States.

On Tuesday, a delegation from the Republic of Benin and the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria led by Governor of Kebbi State, Atiku Bagudu and the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, met with the Chief of Staff to the President, Ibrahim Gambari, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The meeting was to solidify the agreements and tap from Nigeria’s experience in reviving rice production.

Members of RIFAN were recently in Cotonou, the country’s capital, on the invitation of President Patrice Talon for discussion on how the MoU would be fine-tuned and signed.

The Beninese delegation was led by the country’s Minister of Agriculture, Gaston Dossouhoui.

Bagudu, who spoke to State House correspondents after the meeting, said the delegation and RIFAN met with Gambari to advance ongoing talks between the two countries on how to replicate Nigeria’s rice farming programme in Benin Republic.

The governor noted that the move was to see how rice importation could be ended in West Africa.

Bagudu said, “Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria met with the Chief of Staff to the President, to progress the discussion which has been going on between them and Benin Republic, for the two countries to replicate the success of Nigeria’s rice farming programme in Benin, so that we can stop rice importation in West Africa in shortest possible time.

“This is partnership within the framework of ECOWAS agreement and the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement, and our brotherly relationship between President Muhammadu Buhari and President Patrice Talon, who have the safe vision that we can be greater together.”

National President of RIFAN, Aminu Goronyo, explained that the Beninese government was desirous of learning from Nigerian experience in rice production.

Goronyo said, “They are here because they have seen the successes recorded in the area of rice production in Nigeria and their president was so happy; he was excited. And he said they must come to Nigeria, partner with Nigerian rice farmers and see how Nigerian farmers can replicate the same thing in Benin Republic, so that they will be able to achieve the successes this government recorded in the area of rice production.”

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