NIGERIA – The Chinese Government, through its initiative, Green Agriculture West Africa Limited (GAWAL), has sponsored agricultural technical training programs for over 400 Nigerian government officials.

According to a report from the Chinese embassy, the programs were meant to enhance the agricultural exchange and cooperation between China and Nigeria.

Green Agriculture West Africa Limited, an agriculture investment company, was established in Nigeria to produce and supply rice seeds and develop a diversified seed business based on the local planting structure.

“In order to enhance the agricultural exchange and cooperation between China and Nigeria since 2016, the company has undertaken the agricultural technical training programs sponsored by the Chinese government and trained over 400 governmental officials from across Nigeria,” read the report.

In addition, the company has so far set up seven seed production cooperatives with more than 5,000 smallholder farmers in Nigeria, through training and disseminating rice and maize seed production techniques to local farmers.

“Currently, our company has an annual seed production capacity of over 10,000 metric tonnes,” the report added.

The firm also revealed that its high-yield rice variety, GAWAL R1, has an average yield of over 30% compared to the most popular local rice variety.

In addition, the initiative has set up the CGCOC Agriculture High-tech Abuja Industrial Park in Abuja, which supports Nigeria’s food security efforts.

The park is also the project site of the China-Aid Nigerian Agriculture Technology Demonstration Center, which was completed in December 2022.

The move comes after the recent call by the authorities, urging paddy farmers to take advantage of installed rice mills in the country.

Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Lagos State governor made the plea at the 2023 Lagos Farm Fair as part of activities commemorating the United Nations World Food Day, at the Police College, Ikeja.

Sanwo-Olu emphasized t that the country seeks to grow enough paddy to meet consumption capacity adding that the national mill has enough market for paddy growers.

He also disclosed that a Central Food Logistics Hub would be completed in Lagos next year to reduce waste and loss, also noted: “Farming is an important component of our government’s activities.

We need to grow what we eat and eat what we grow. While we have collaborated with some major agricultural states within the country, we are also looking for independent paddy rice farmers across the federation to raise paddy supply at Lagos Rice Mill.”