Filipino Ambassador to Nigeria, Shirley Ho Vicario has said that with the growing population of her country, estimated at about 110 million people at the moment, Philippine may need Nigeria’s land in the future, to feed its people.
She said Nigeria has so much fertile land noting however, that land utilization for agricultural purposes is very minimal.
Ambassador Vicario made the observation to during a visit to Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of Kano state, saying “as I was coming to this state by road, I saw vast land capable of being ploughed and used to grow crops. It is all open, the land is neglected yet it is so fertile”.
She said her country has expertise especially in rice production explaining that through its International Rice Research Institute, Philippine can help Nigeria, especially states like Kano, to fully exploit their rice potential, on irrigated, rainfed and upland environments.
The envoy also pointed out that her country has proficiency in production of fruits vegetables and fertilizer while the country needs to import of beverages like cocoa, coffee and tea from Nigeria.
Ambassador Vicario also asked Kano state government to take advantage of Philippine’s pool of skilled human resources in various sectors, to grow its economy, pointing out that her country also has opportunities for students from Kano, willing to study in any of the over 1,100 tertiary institutions in the country that accept international students.
“We can improve relations if open communication among ourselves”, said the envoy, highlighting that several opportunities exists for mutual benefit between Nigeria and her country.
Responding, Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, told the visiting envoy that Kano has vast land and water resources for all year agriculture.
“We have the resources but our major problem is the technology. Commercial agriculture needs mechanization, improved seeds and marketing strategies”, the governor maintained, saying the support of Filipino experts is expedient in this regard.
Dr. Ganduje added that the state would want to synergize with Filipino investors to boost several sectors of the economy and improve the living standard of the people.