The French Government on Tuesday pledged to assist Nigeria with technology and machinery that would aid its food sufficiency agenda.
Mr Laurent Polonceaux, the Consul General of France in Nigeria, said this at the opening ceremony of the Second Agrofood and Plastprintpack Exhibition organised by Fairtrade in Lagos.
Polonceaux said France would promote technological exchange and cooperation between Nigerian agro-food producers and suppliers to make the agenda a success.
He said the Federal Government’s diversification into agriculture held huge opportunities for the economy.
Mr Martin Marz, Managing Director, Fairtrade said the fair was to support the country’s agro-food industry to meet its challenges in food hygiene, food safety and cost efficiency.
He said the food and beverage sectors were the largest segment of the country’s manufacturing industry because they had generated over 1.5 million jobs and engaged five per cent of the workforce.
Marz said the show was in response to the growth, demand and vitality of the country’s agro-food industry.
According to him, a World Trade Organisation (WTO) report reveals that food importation to Nigeria increased from 4.5 billion dollars in 2010 to 8.5 billion dollars in 2014.
He said Nigeria’s food export grew from 2.9 billion dollars in 2010 to 4.9 billion dollars in 2014.
Ms Martina Claus, Project Manager Africa, German Engineering Federation (VDMA), said increased awareness and prosperity of the people were responsible for the growth of Nigerian’s food and packaging industry.
She said Nigeria’s import of food processing and packaging machinery increased from 198 million Euros to 381 million Euro between 2010 and 2014.
“During the same period, imports of packaging machinery and equipment increased from 85 million euros to 201 million euros, showing a 136 per cent increase.
“Imports of plastic machinery grew by 61 per cent from 54 million Euros to 87 million Euros,” she said.
Ms Mosunmola Umoru, Technical Adviser to the Minister of Agriculture, said the diversification agenda of the government would not thrive without quality packaging of its produce.
She urged the exhibitors to partner with Nigerians in proffering packaging solutions that would make the country’s products acceptable for export.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that 86 exhibitors from 21 European countries are attending the fair which ends on April 28. (NAN)