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April 23, 2008

Thailand to assist Nigeria with rice farming know-how

Thailand has signed an agreement with the Nigerian government to teach rice farming to the African nation, the Nigerian newspaper Business Day reported.

The newspaper said that the local Nigerian company Vaswanni Group had brokered an agreement under which Thailand signed a contract to be administered by the Nigerian federal government.

Thai experts are expected to start rice farms in Nigeria within six months, according to the story.

Nigeria is a major customer for Thai rice. The country spends about $267 million a year on importing two million tonnes of rice, according to Business Day. However, it produces only 300 tonnes.

The newspaper quoted a Nigerian government sources as saying: "The involvement of the Vaswani group in the local production of rice in Nigeria will be a big boost for the country. We would be sure that henceforth the country would no longer experience scarcity of rice. As a nation, we will be able to meet the growing demand for rice locally and that will in a way to assist the government tackle the problem of food scarcity."

The newspaper said the project would be run inside Nigeria under the ministry of agriculture and water resources.

It provided no details on the Thai government involvement, nor did it explain the involvement of the Vaswanni company, better known for local auto production than international agriculture.

Bangkok Post

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