The government of the Republic of Benin has expressed interest in cooperating with Nigeria in a bid to leverage the country’s experience in reviving rice production, as well as to stop smuggling and rice importation in the two countries.
In a visit to Nigeria, a delegation of officials from Benin, led by the country’s minister of agriculture, Gaston Cossi Dossouhoui, paid a call to the presidential villa in Abuja, where they were conducted by Gov. Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State and Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning Zainab Ahmed.
Addressing journalists after a closed-door meeting, Gov. Bagudu explained that the delegation met with the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) and the chief of staff to the president, Ibrahim Gambari, on how to replicate Nigeria’s rice farming program in Benin.
“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,” Bagudu said.
RIFAN National President Aminu Goronyo explained that the Benin government was ready to learn from the Nigerian approach in order to attain the successes being observed in Nigeria.
According to Goronyo, the president of Benin was pleased with Nigeria’s giant strides in rice production and hoped to partner with Nigerian rice farmers to see how their work could be replicated in Benin.
The RIFAN recently visited Cotonou, the capital of Benin, on an invitation from President Tallon to discuss and fine-tune the partnership proposed to boost rice farming in his country.