A Nigerian company, EGTA Investment Limited, on Friday, signed an agreement with a Ghanaian conglomerate, Jospong Group of Companies, to boost rice farming, wheat, soya beans, yellow corn, and sunflower production, among others.
The Memorandum of Understanding was signed at the Ghana High Commission in Abuja on Friday in the presence of Nigerian Minister of State for Water Resources, Bello Goronyo; the Ghanaian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Rashid Bawa, represented by the embassy’s Head of Mission, Eddison Agbenyegah; and President of Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria, Engr. Aminu Goronyo.
Mr Jospong, a Ghanaian company with business interest in over 14 sectors spanning 60 subsidiaries with operations in Africa and Asia, was represented by its Lead Coordinator, Rice Project, George Blavo; while the Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of EGTA, Bashir Yusuf-Ibrahim, represented the Nigerian conglomerate.
In his remarks, Mr Ibrahim said the future of Africa lies in cooperation, financial, social, political relationships between African nations.
“It is on that basis that the EGTA delegation went to Ghana to negotiate this historic MoU,” he said.
He said the agreement is an extension of the historic relationship between Ghana and Nigeria which dates back to dozens years ago.
He said the EGTA -Jospong MoU would cover production of agricultural commodities, providing technical, financial and investment cooperation, as well as training and capacity building of the Ghanaians in the agriculture ecosystem.
He said the agreement, one out of many with other foreign partners, was made possible by President Bola Tinubu administration’s business-friendly commitments to making private sector key drivers in economic diversification.
“President Bola Tinubu’s administration is business-friendly, and we are going to ride on its back to blaze the trail by deepening cooperation, expanding investment scopes with a view to actualize President Tinubu’s agenda of creating a robust and diversified economy,” Mr Ibrahim said.
Mr Blavo, who signed the MoU on behalf of Jospong, said the agreement was “basically aimed at lifting the people of Ghana from poverty through agricultural development.”
He said the agreement was in line with Ghana’s agricultural agenda of adding value to the agricultural food chain, food security, reducing food imports, with the private sector as a pivotal force.
“We are hopeful this MOU will further strengthen the Nigeria -Ghana bilateral relationship,” Mr Blavo said.
In his opening remarks, Mr Agbenyegah, said Nigeria is one of the leading producers of rice in Africa. ““We are happy to be partners in this private sector initiative in deepening rice production in Ghana,” he said.
“Ghana is hosting the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA) Secretariat, therefore we want to deepen cooperation to propel regional growth.”
He said Ghana wants to learn from Nigeria, which has since become “Rice Super Power.”
The RIFAN president explained that Nigeria, after banning the importation of rice, has made remarkable progress in rice production over the previous decade surpassing Egypt with a yearly production of 5.8 metric tonnes of rice.