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Nigeria’s vegetable demand exceeds supply by 13 million metric tons — Envoy

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Harry Dijk

THE Netherlands Ambassador to Nigeria, Harry Dijk has stated that Nigeria needs 13 million metric tons of vegetables to meet its local demand.

  He further stated that the Nigerian horticulture sector has huge opportunities for local farmers to venture in, create wealth and also bridge the supply deficit.

  The Envoy disclosed this during the launch of HortiNigeria recently in Abuja, the Dutch Ambassador said the project will contribute to a more sustainable and inclusive horticulture system in Nigeria.

  Dijk said local market demand for vegetables in Nigeria largely exceeds local production, with an estimated supply gap of 13 million metric tons, noting that the program is a result of the intensification in the bilateral relations between The Netherlands and Nigeria.

  He said the bilateral cooperation between The Netherlands and Nigeria focuses on trade & investment, peace & security, social development and migration & consular affairs.

  “Nigeria focuses on the diversification of the economy and the development of the agricultural sector. From the Dutch side we offer the Dutch Diamond approach, whereby we stimulate partnerships between the private sector, government agencies, knowledge institutions and civil society.

  “We look at the entire food system, beyond primary production. We envision a Nigerian food system that provides sufficient healthy food to a fast-growing population.

  “Furthermore we strive for a food system that creates jobs and entrepreneurship opportunities and that respects the natural environment. We take a targeted approach and focus on seed sector development and horticulture because that is where The Netherlands can add the most value.

  “Making food systems more resilient to climate change is a cross-cutting theme in all our activities. The program pays extra attention to the inclusion of women and youth, for instance by supporting women-led SMEs and young farmers”, he said.

  Also, the President of International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC), Albin Hubscher said the Center is convinced that with HortiNigeria, it is able to permanently impact the increase in the horticulture sector in Nigeria.

  While explaining the reason why IFDC focuses on Africa and South Asia, Hubscher said “it is very clear that in these areas we count close to 800 million hungry people, people who go to bed every evening hungry and without sufficient nutritious food, and we are all here to help change this.

  “The second reason why we are in sub-Saharan Africa is that the projections are that 9 out of 10 people coming from the poorest and less privileged area will come from Sub-Saharan Africa by 2030 and it behooves all of us to do as much as possible to prevent or at least reduce that statistics”.

  He said soil health and soil fertility have had quite a bit of highlight recently at the United Nations Food System Summit which took place in November last year.

  “If you look at soil quality here in West Africa, unfortunately, we live in a dire situation. Most of the soils in this area are depleted from nutrients.

  “If we consider that the Africa population by the end of this century, it is going to be as big as the Asia population, and if we further consider that today Africa is only 80 percent food secure, there is a lot of work for all of us to do to change that going forward.

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