By Olayinka Owolewa
Ilorin, Jan. 25, 2021 The French representative in West Africa, Dr. Sonia Darracq, has described the recently-launched Kwara Agricultural Transformation Plan (2020-2030) as “the best possible strategic plan in terms of agribusiness development”.
“It goes deeply through all sectors and value chains, including the education and training aspects.
“From it, any potential investor certainly feels reassured and comforted that Kwara is an agribusiness friendly state.
“It encourages investors to come and see by themselves,” Darracq, who is the Regional Agricultural Counsellor for Benin, Cameroon, Ghana, Niger, Nigeria, and Togo at the French Embassy, stated this during her visit to Kwara State on Sunday.
She said plans are underway by French private companies to partner Kwara State government in different fields of agriculture – livestock, agricultural equipment and machinery and other value chains.
“As the business environment is safe in Kwara, some French companies are already willing to start building a win-win public-private-partnerships in areas related to livestock (veterinary, feeding, processing, logistics, etc).
“Also in Agricultural equipment and machinery for all value chains (processing, packaging, cold chain, etc.); irrigation systems: expansion (technical cooperation) and equipment; post harvest issues and agrologistic hubs, are necessary,” she said.
She explained that developing a network of agro-logistic hubs could drastically decrease post-harvest losses, contribute to structuring agricultural sectors and improve food safety and security.
Darracq, who toured parts of the state in company of the Technical Assistant to the Governor on Agric, Abdulquawiy Olododo, explained that the cooperation in Technical Agriculture Education between the French Network of Technical Agriculture Colleges and the similar institutions in Kwara, mainly ARMTI, will be strengthened.
She said the partnership will also involve several stakeholders within and outside the academic, including in the area of vocational trainings.
Darracq recalled that collaboration with Kwara started in February 2020 when Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq attended the Paris International Agriculture Show.
Her words: “When the Governor visited the Paris International Agriculture Show in February 2020, we then had the opportunity to exchange ideas about the many agricultural sectors France and Kwara State may be interested in working together.
“But our activities were distracted by the critical consequences of the pandemic on a huge part of the population in Nigeria,” she added