An official of European Union (EU), Mr John Clarke, has projected Nigeria to be an agricultural powerhouse within 10 years given the entrepreneurial spirit of the people and abundant land.
Clarke, who is the director, International and Bilateral Relations of EU, made the prediction at the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) International Investment Conference in Lagos.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the conference was part of the activities marking the 30th Lagos International Trade Fair organised by the chamber slated for Nov. 4 to 13.
Clarke said, “Positive policies geared toward attracting investment into the agricultural sector will make the projection a reality.”
He said local and foreign investments in the sector would create a stable alternative to the pattern of economic migration.
“Sadly, we see so many young people leaving the country; with the investment, Nigeria can produce foods for its own budding population, earn export through regional and global trade.
“The EU is a fervent believer in the future of Nigeria. You are a great country with huge potential, and we will continue to contribute to your future economic growth,” the EU official said.
He said the country’s potential would be enhanced through positive and consistent policies, creation of enabling business environment, and bridging links between manufacturers and farmers.
Clarke said improved extension services and movement to mechanized farming from subsistence farming would also help the country.
According to him, EU is the world’s largest agricultural exporter and importer, largest service provider, and the largest foreign direct investor globally.
“We are the biggest investor in Nigeria today, as well as Nigeria’s first trading partner.
“Many European countries want to invest in Nigeria’s agricultural and food sector.
“For that investment to happen, we need strong agricultural policies, transparency, safety, predictability, and strong business friendly climate in the country.’’
The EU chief said potential investors were concerned about currency restrictions, imposition of import ban on various products and Nigeria’s reluctance to sign the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with Europe.
He then urged the Federal Government to ratify the EPA to accelerate economic growth and wider penetration into the global markets.