Reps seek partnership with Netherlands on peace building, food security 

Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Benjamin Okezie Kalu, has called for more collaboration and partnership between Nigeria and the Netherlands, to address some challenges in the country such as conflicts and food insecurity.

He said addressing such challenges will foster economic growth and development.

Kalu made the call while playing host to the Ambassador of Netherlands to Nigeria, Mr. Wouter Plomp, who paid him a courtesy visit at the National Assembly, Abuja.

He noted that the Netherlands stands as a significant source of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Nigeria, particularly in oil and gas, manufacturing, and the agriculture sectors, commending the country for their investments in Nigeria and contributions towards reducing insecurity. 

“Your presence here at the People’s House stands as a testament to the deep-rooted historical ties and enduring friendship that bind our two nations. The parliament is aware of your presence in the country and the impact that you’re making. Take it back to the kingdom that the parliament of Nigeria is aware of the contribution you’re making to nation building. In 2022, bilateral trade between Nigeria and the Netherlands reached 7.7 billion Euros, with Nigeria enjoying a trade surplus of 5.2 billion Euros. Our trade relations continue to thrive.

“The Netherlands’ support for peacebuilding initiatives in Nigeria, especially in addressing conflicts in regions like the North East, is commendable. Specifically, the Kingdom of the Netherlands has provided crucial support to those affected by the Boko Haram insurgency for the past seven years. Let me also mention food system, if we secure lives and properties and we don’t secure food , lives and properties will be lost…

“I want to thank the Dutch Embassy to Nigeria for the crucial role it is playing in supporting the HortiNigeria program, which is transforming vegetable value chains in several key Nigerian states, including Kano, Kaduna, Ogun, and Oyo. We recognize the Netherlands’ strides in precision agriculture and its expertise in milk processing and other dairy products. Given Nigeria’s substantial livestock population and high demand for milk, there exists significant potential for partnership in value chain creation and processing”, he said.

Earlier, the Ambassador, Wouter Plomp, told the Deputy Speaker that the Netherlands is very much interested in deepening cooperation in agriculture and other sectors, aimed at promoting these sectors, strengthening bilateral relations and mutual dialogue.

He informed the Deputy Speaker of a memorandum of understanding signed a fortnight ago with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on having bilateral consultations every year, assuring the parliament of more national coverage with their seed programme so as to not only promote the agri business but also the business in agricultural commodities for young people

“Nigeria’s total annual demand for milk stands at 1.45 billion liters, yet more than 90% of our milk comes from cattle in low-input, low-yielding pastoral systems. With Nigeria having the fifth-largest cattle herd in Africa, collaboration in milk processing and dairy products can help meet this demand and foster economic growth,” he said.