The vertical farming initiative between Lagos and the Netherlands, which aims to reduce food insecurity and spur economic growth, is on track, according to Michel Deelen, Consulate-General of the Netherlands in Lagos.
The diplomat said the Mission was still working with the Lagos State Government on the green port project, which aims to introduce cutting-edge Dutch vertical technology that enables the growth of produce in a controlled and predictable manner while overcoming challenging outdoor climate conditions. The diplomat spoke with Press men on the sidelines of the new year’s reception in Lagos.
The farming approach produces products without the use of pesticides, with less waste production than conventional agriculture, and without the restrictions that are typically imposed by the seasons, weather, climate, and location.
The partnership’s goal is to entice Dutch and Nigerian investors to make investments in climate control, breeding, greenhouse construction and cultivation, and other aspects of greenhouse horticulture.
The state government was especially pleased with Greenport Lagos, a platform for horticultural collaboration among government, business, and knowledge institutions, according to Lagos Commissioner for Agriculture Abisola Olusanya. It is anticipated that the Greenport project will act as a genuine platform for the implementation of solutions developed especially for Nigeria.
Olusanya stated that Nigeria and the Netherlands have inked a Memorandum of Understanding to strengthen the agricultural sector together with the memorandum of understanding(MoU) signed for realizing the Impact Cluster – Greenport Lagos.
“Netherlands is the second, largest exporter of agricultural produce in the world and in terms of landmass and size. It shares the same with Lagos. It was on record that the Netherlands and Nigeria had a long cooperation history and have an important trading and investment partnership,” she said.
Institutions from Nigeria and the Netherlands established a collaboration last year to improve information exchange for the development of protective vegetables. The leading communicator, the Africa Farmers’ Stories, and JMSF Agribusiness Ltd. made up the Nigerian team, while the Dutch Partners were represented by Koppert Biological Systems, Pan African Seeds BV, Priva, Viscon, Leiden Delft Erasmus universities, and Seed2Feed Foundation.
The provisions of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Nigerian and Dutch partners were established in order to hasten the adoption of protected cultivation and soilless farming practices among Nigerian horticulture producers.
Additionally, Dr. Mohammad Abubakar, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, introduced a program last year to make Nigeria the top tomato exporter in the world and to earn 9.7 million euros (or roughly N4.42 billion) for 60,000 smallholder farmers across four states.
The Netherlands and Nigeria are working together on the four-year HortiNigeria initiative, which aims to increase production along the value chains for okra, onions, and peppers. The project will be implemented in a few selected states, including Kano, Kaduna, Ogun, and Oyo. It is currently managed by Dutch institutions, including the International Fertilizer Development Centre (IFDC) and its consortium partners, East-West Seed Knowledge Transfer (EWS-KT), Wageningen University and Research (WUR), and KIT Royal Tropical Institute.
Despite being one of Africa’s top producers, the minister bemoaned the fact that Nigeria does not have a place among the top exporters of tomatoes. He ascribed the difficulty to low yields brought on by inadequate seed adoption.
The diverse ecologies, soils, and climatic conditions of the nation, Abubakar insisted, are still suitable for growing horticultural crops. He also noted that these conditions offer a significant competitive advantage and the potential to play a leading role in tomato production and trade.
According to Mr. Harry van Dijk, the Dutch Ambassador to Nigeria, the project will also make six million euros in private funding available for farmers, dealers, processors, and SMEs.
According to him, Nigeria’s horticultural industry has incalculable prospects due to the country’s massive supply imbalance of 13 million metric tons caused by local market demand for vegetables that is far higher than local production.