Four ministers from the Republic of Benin along with other officials are in Nigeria for talks with Nigerian rice farmers under the aegis of Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) to fine-tune a memorandum of understanding.
The ministers were Alimatau Shadiya, Minister of Industry and Trade, Cossi Gaston Dossouhoui, Minister of Agriculture and Livestock, Samon Seidou Adambi, Minister of Mine and Water Resources and Romuald Wadagni, Minister of Finance and the Economy and head of the delegation.
Mr Wadagni stated that because of the new vision of cooperation between the two countries, President Patrice Talon decided to send four ministers to Nigeria to chart the way forward for a robust cooperation on rice production.
“We want to put in place a partnership between the rice producers of Nigeria, and the rice producers in the Republic of Benin,” he said.
Earlier, the national president of RIFAN, Alhaji Aminu Goronyo, who led a delegation to the Benin Republic president in Cotonou, last week, said the Abuja meeting would look at the technical areas for learning and the way forward.
He said “the team was in Nigeria to see what we are doing right under the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Anchor Borrowers’ Programme launched by President Muhammadu Buhari which made Nigeria today to record huge success in the rice revolution.”
In a related development, Benin Republic has approached President Muhammadu Buhari to seek Nigeria’s help for rice production.
The country sent in a delegation of officials who met with the Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Tuesday to tap from Nigeria’s experience in reviving rice production.
The delegation was led by the country’s Minister of Agriculture, Gaston Cossi Dossouhoui. They were led to the Villa by Kebbi State Governor Atiku Bagudu and the Nigerian Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed.
Bagudu later told reporters that the delegation and the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria met with Gambari to advance ongoing talks between both countries on how to replicate Nigeria’s rice farming programme in Benin Republic.
“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 Tallon who have the safe vision that we can be greater together,” he said.