The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Mohammad Abubakar, has said that the Federal Government would revive economic ties with Mexico to bring about a robust diplomatic relationship, strategic trading as well as rewarding traffic for trade.
The minister made this known when he received the delegation led by the Mexican Ambassador to Nigeria, His Excellency, Mr. Alfredo Miranda in his office in Abuja.
He stated that Mexico is not just another country with which Nigeria has good diplomatic relations but a strategic trading partner and the biggest importer of the country’s hibiscus.
Abubakar recalled that in 2017 Nigeria earned $35m from export of 1,983 containers of hibiscus to Mexico within nine months.
The minister regretted the suspension of the hibiscus trade for nearly three years and a resultant slow-down of the momentum of export activities around hibiscus.
Also, Abubakar revealed that the period was used to decisively overcome the proximate cause of the suspension of export. “The days of the khapra beetle infestation of some of the hibiscus consignments are behind us,” he assured.
He pledged that the ministry would work closely with off-takers and exporters through the Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS) to facilitate the building of chambers dedicated to methyl bromide fumigation of hibiscus.
He commended the ambassador for his efforts to ensure that the compliance issue that stalled the export of Nigeria’s hibiscus to Mexico are resolved during his tenure.
“Nigeria is a large producer of ginger, chilli peppers and others. We will love to be Mexico’s importer of choice for these products. We hope that you will support NAQS to achieve this mutually beneficial outcome,” he added.
In his remarks, Miranda said that his country is deeply involved in strengthening the capacity of the agricultural produce, adding that hibiscus was valued at more than $600 million. He expressed his country’s delight at doing business with the country under the ministry.
A statement by the ministry’s information director, Mohammed Abdullahi Gana said Miranda stated that his country can develop 14 varieties of maize which can be good for other purposes, 14 varieties of rice which can be sold in different conditions, 4 varieties of sesame and several varieties of soya beans.
Earlier, the Comptroller-General, NAQS, Dr. Vincent Isegbe said “hibiscus is one of the products that we have been exporting to Mexico. We were doing well until we had hitches. But, with the resumption of the new ambassador it took only 3 hours to resolve the matter”.