NIGERIA – The JR Farms group a significant player in the cassava and coffee sectors across Nigeria, Rwanda, and Zambia, has unveiled a groundbreaking digital platform named “Food for Nations” to boost agricultural trade between Nigeria and France.

The platform, inaugurated by the French Minister of Foreign Trade, Olivier Becht, seeks to streamline and digitize the export process for agricultural and food products.

The digital platform aims to bring together stakeholders in the agri-food value chain, including producers, buyers, logistics, and warehousing operators facilitating smoother export and import processes for food products.

Olawale Rotimi, the general manager of JR Farms, highlighted that the platform’s launch is not only intended to strengthen cooperation with France but also to foster ties with other European Union countries.

“With the registration of JR Farms in France, we also plan to acquire agricultural land in France. We are currently in the process of doing so,” Rotimi said.

He expressed optimism about exporting basic products to France, citing the country’s successful export of cereals to North Africa.

In 2022, France exported 166 million euros (US$182 million) worth of goods to Nigeria, while importing 126 million euros (US$138 million) of food products in return, according to data from the French National Treasury Department.

The French Minister for Foreign Trade, Olivier Becht, emphasized the French government’s interest in deepening trade relationships with Nigeria, particularly in the agricultural export sector.

He hailed the Food for Nations digital trade platform as a significant milestone in bilateral cooperation, recognizing France’s role in harnessing the quality and diversity of food in the Nigerian market.

Rotimi added the collaborative nature of the initiative, mentioning agreements with two French companies for the training of selected cohorts on best agribusiness practices.

The platform, designed to connect Nigeria, Africa, and the European Union, also holds the potential to transform the landscape of global trade in the food industry.

The Lagos State Commissioner for Agriculture, Miss Abisola, outlined plans to reshape the food system in Lagos, emphasizing collaboration with the French government.

She also discussed initiatives to attract young people to agriculture, including the Agric Scholars program for primary and secondary students.

Ekiti State Commissioner for Investment and Trade, Mrs. Omotayo Adeola, sought investors to boost the state’s presence in the international market, emphasizing Ekiti’s diverse range of agricultural products suitable for export.

She expressed confidence in the Food for Nations platform, foreseeing it as a means for Nigerian producers to access the European Union market and African intercontinental trade.

The platform’s potential impact on reducing post-harvest losses and increasing market access was also highlighted.