By Igho Akeregha
Nigeria’s effort to achieve economic growth and food security may have received a boost as the Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC) and the Association of Agricultural and Industrial Entrepreneurs of Nigeria (AIEN) have signed a pact to collaborate in that regard.
Speaking in Abuja at the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) yesterday, Director General and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of RMRDC, Hussaini Ibrahim, said the council has been working on development and utilisation of local materials for industries for a while.
He noted that as part of the effort, the RMRDC came up with cluster development strategy for which the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology adopted the Ward-Based Cluster Programme.
Hussaini maintained that the council found it necessary to adopt the strategy of Cluster Development Initiatives and Public Private Partnership (PPP) as the new way to go in realising growth and national development and reap its full benefits.
Speaking, National President of AIEN, Chuku Wachuku, described the agreement as a milestone and an innovative idea capable of producing raw materials for local consumption and exports for the country.He added that the MoU would also create wealth through the PPP initiative, while also creating a window in the non-oil sector for the country to earn the much-needed foreign exchange.
While inviting Nigerians and organisations to key into the new initiative that he believes would change businesses and the society, Chuku explained that the programme involves collaboration with willing states to set up clusters across the 774 local government areas of Nigeria.
Chuku assured that the combined effort would engage no fewer than 250 to 500 members of AIEN in each local council as primary entrepreneurs.”The programme will also collaborate with financial institutions to raise the needed capital and the international agencies to build capacity,” he said.The collaboration would offer other benefits such as engaging with industries to produce raw materials, export agricultural produce and preserve excess produce for local needs.