Netherlands pledges support for inclusive, sustainable growth in Nigeria

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Michel Deleen, the Netherlands Consul General in Lagos, says his country is eager to work with Lagos State and Nigeria on innovations that will boost inclusive and sustainable agricultural growth.

Deleen, represented by his deputy, Mr. Arie Plieger, made this known during an event organised by the Consulate and the state Ministry of Agriculture themed, “Urban Farming: Feeding the Cities”, on Wednesday in Lagos.

According to him, Netherlands intensified bilateral cooperation with Lagos State under the ambitious leadership of the governor, commissioners and the  dynamic private sector.

He said cooperation was intensified in areas including circular economy, energy transition and horticulture.

Deleen said the interest of the government in horticulture and greenhouse technologies testified to its ambition to make Lagos a smart and sustainable economic powerhouse, not only for Nigeria, but also for West Africa.

“It is a crucial time to talk about food and about how to improve food production not only in the interest of Nigeria, Lagos or the Netherlands, but this goes beyond borders and continents.

“We want to strengthen food security and food safety in the challenging context to have certainty that there will always be sufficient food.

“We want food to be of high quality and help people to stay healthy, while also protecting the environment.

“Agriculture, unfortunately, contributes also to greenhouse gas emissions and the government and private sector are working together to find local solutions for global challenges to make it better for now and the future,” he said.

Deleen stressed that Netherlands was collaborating with countries around the globe to introduce new technologies and innovation, adding that after the U.S, his country was the world’s biggest agriculture exporter.

He further noted that greenhouses, in particular, had brought about an agricultural revolution, emphasising that high-tech greenhouses no longer cost energy, instead they generate energy.

“The Netherlands is proud that many greenhouses and innovative technologies in use in Africa, Asia, Middle East, North and South America are of Dutch origin.

“We owe it to the young generation in Nigeria to develop innovation that can provide more work for the talented workforce.

“Lagos State has showed major ambition to reform farming, and wants to put more emphasis on horticulture and The Netherlands is only too glad to share its knowledge and experience with you,” he said.

Also, Mr Bram Wits, Regional Agricultural Counselor of The Netherlands Ministry of Agriculture, said being the second biggest exporter of agricultural goods in the world, the total number of exports from the Netherlands to the world exceeded 1 billion euros in 2021.

He said his country had a position to work together with partners throughout the world on a trade and investment agenda.

According to him, the Netherlands is truly an innovation avenue globally and top location for agriculture in the world.

“One of the major drivers of innovation for us is the limitation we encounter as a small densely populated country and in that sense, we echo the situation here in southwest Nigeria

“However, limitations are to be embraced, because they are really truly drivers for innovations, and force us to take the best out of ourselves,” he said.

Witz noted that it was important to work together on doubling agricultural production worldwide, and at the same time, decreasing by at least 50 per cent, the inputs used for producing food.

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