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The Federal Government will transform the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN) to the Brazilian model – Embrapa, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, has said.

Adesina said the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation has contributed immensely to developing Brazil’s agricultural sector, adding that the ARCN will soon become Nigeria’s Embrapa as the research body was able to convert its savannah to green vegetation.

“Nigeria must learn how Brazil did it and one of the things we can take with us is know how to transform our own northern savannah which is the northern Guinea Savannah similar to that of Brazil to fertile land.

“Today the savannah region contributes more than 70% of the beef cattle production in the country and thanks to irrigation and soil correcting techniques; it is also an important production centre of grains, mainly soya, beans, maize and rice,” he said.

Adesina who was in Brazil with selected directors from the Ministry went to study source of the country’s agricultural successes.

In a statement issued yesterday in Abuja by the Director of Information, Greyne Anosike the delegate discovered the Embrapa played significant roles to Brazil’s food sufficiency.

However, he identified the need to build solid partnership with the Brazilian government.

Embrapa is the acronym for “Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuária”.

It reads in part: “The main achievement of Embrapa, according to the Minister was to turn the ‘cerrado’ also known as savannah to green vegetation.

“When Embrapa started, Brazil’s savannah was said to be regarded as unfit for farming by then as they seemed too acidic and too poor in nutrients but it was amazing the way Embrapa turned things around.

“Brazil’s agricultural miracle did not happen through a simple technological fix. No magic bullet accounts for it, all the interventions worked together. Improving the soil and the new tropical soybeans were both needed for farming the cerrado; the two together also made possible the changes in farm techniques which have boosted yields further, so I see no reason the ARCN should not perform the same function in Nigeria”.

Meanwhile, Adesina has begun talks with Brazilian farmers for a shared knowledge on the use of farming technology. The Minister has also persuaded the Brazilian investors to explore opportunities in the nation’s agricultural sector.

Speaking with Brazilian investors and stakeholders in agribusiness in Sao Paulo, he said the move to understand how Brazil developed its agriculture became imperative given the advanced technology adopted by its farmers.

“Brazil was a net exporter of food just like Nigeria few years ago and that if Brazil could rise above her challenges then Nigeria has no reason to remain where it is today.

“The growing influence of Brazil in global economic fora is linked to her ability to feed herself and export to the world community,” he said.

The Nation