Brazil’s Consul-General of Brazil in Lagos, Ambassador Maria Auxiliadora Figueiredo, said on Monday (Nov. 27) – in a Brazil-Nigeria business forum – that the two countries have large opportunities of cooperation in the agricultural sector, according to reports in Nigerian press.
Ms. Figueiredo said Brazil is willing to assist Nigeria and other African countries, enabling them to feed itself, lift millions of its people out of poverty and help feed the world. The huge potential of the continent — fertile soils and up to 360 million hectares of uncultivated arable land, in addition to its status as the largest producer of a number of food and cash crops — puts Africa in a strong position to feed the world. However, there is still much to be done.
According to the Brazilian official, the idea that Africa can feed the world is realistic, because Brazil has shown that this is possible. Brazil, in the past a food importer, is nowadays one of the three largest producers and exporters of soybeans, sugar, coffee, orange juice, beef, tobacco and chicken
She remarked that Brazil was able to transform its agriculture sector into one of the most competitive in the world within a generation. In the last decades, the application of science and technology transformed the country’s traditional agriculture into a modern, competitive one.. But she also said that it is important to protect the small farmers.
According to her, about 70 per cent of food produced and consumed in Brazil is from the small farmers. “We are really ready to share our philosophy for protecting small farmers with Nigeria. “
An official from my country’s Ministry of Agriculture will be visiting Abuja soon to share our philosophy for protecting small farmers with Nigerians. “In Brazil, there are laws that are made to protect small farmers. So, I feel that Nigeria should also protect such farmers,’’ she said
The Chairman of the Nigerian-Brazilian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Emmanuel Ibru, said that there would continue to be synergy between Nigeria and Brazil. Ibru, who said that there was a lot for Nigeria to learn from Brazil, also announced his organisation’s plan to soon organise another visit to Brazil. He said that the chamber would continue to encourage and promote trade and knowledge transfer between Nigerians and Brazilians.