France Seeks Better Agrobusiness Relationship With Nigeria To Improve €3.53bn Annual Volume 

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The French Minister for Foreign Trade and Economic Attractiveness, Olivier Becht has said the French Government is interested in deepening trade relationship with Nigeria on agricultural exports.

Becht spoke during the launch of the Food for Nations’ digital trade platform designed by JR Farms to help players within the agribusiness value chain gain access to the French market and the rest of Europe via trade.

France’s plans to deepen interests came as Nigeria accounts for about 20 percent or €3.53 billion of the former’s trade within the sub-Saharan African countries. Becht was optimistic that with the launch of the platform, trade relations between Nigeria and France on the agribusiness front would significantly improve.

“This platform marks a significant milestone in the ties between France and Nigeria. The agri-food industry stands as a beacon for cooperation between our two great nations.

“France, with its culinary heritage and its advanced technical know-how plays a pivotal role in harnessing the quality and diversity of food in the Nigerian market.”
The Chief Executive Officer of JR Farms, Olawale Rotimi said the partnerships have brought growth, having signed an agreement with two French companies to train selected cohorts on best agribusiness practices.

Expressing optimism that the Food for Nations platform would connect Nigeria to the European market, Rotimi said JR Farms is already in talks to birth the first food cargo in Nigeria, in partnership with Air France.

“We want to collaborate with Nigeria, Africa.  Already, we have these collaborations happening. Where we are seated here today is a product of collaboration. We want more of these collaborations and economic ties between Nigeria and France.

“With the registration of JR Farms in France, we are also planning together with the Africa office to acquire some farmlands in France. We are in that process at the moment. France is already exporting a lot of grain to North Africa, why not West Africa? We are also looking at commodities here that we can move to France.”

Meanwhile, the President of the Franco-Nigerian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Usman Mohammed said Nigeria is France’s leading trading partner in Sub-Saharan African accounting for about 20 percent or €3.53 billion annually.

“France’s business and economic interest has continued to grow in Nigeria. Nigeria is France’s leading trading partner in sub-Saharan Africa and the fourth largest in Africa behind Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia,” Mohammed said.

The French government, through its development agencies, is financing various projects across the country in line with the Sustainable Goals Agenda (SDG). One of its agencies, the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) last year signed a €25 million grant agreement for the Northern Corridor project co-financed by the European Union for power generation and is currently working with the federal government to fund the creative sector with about €100 million.

He said French companies like TotalEnergies, and Schneider in Nigeria have also remained committed to doing business and impacting the environment.

“We see brands like TotalEnergies impact projects covering power, healthcare, education, and others with huge investment in the upstream sector of the Nigerian economy,” he said.

Fanmilk (Danone) has huge investments in backward integration for the production of dairy milk for their products and the commissioning of its modern dairy farm in Odeda, Ogun State, and Schneider Electric Nigeria is empowering local communities by promoting local sustainability initiatives and educational support.

There are SPIE oil and gas training programmes for young Nigerians in various skill areas and Access Bank Nigeria now has a functioning office in Paris with initiatives to ensure the flow of economic activities between both countries.

Mohammed also pointed out the efforts and activities of the other economic players like Business France; leading French business delegations to Nigeria in various sectors for prospection, the Economic Department of the Embassy, and the Franco-Nigerian Chamber of Commerce and Industry which have supported the growth of French-Nigeria business relations.

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