The French Ambassador to Nigeria, Emmanuelle Blatmann, has announced that at least 10 firms will be mobilised to invest in the development of Lata grazing reserve by the Kwara state government.
The envoy said the French government’s partnership with the Kwara state government will begin February with a bilateral talk on how to develop the Lata grazing reserve and make new frontier of socio-economic growth.
The ambassador made the disclosure during a courtesy call on Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq at the Government House in Ilorin, Tuesday evening.
Blatmann said the governor’s focus on agribusiness, garment production, tourism, ICT, renewable energy, and entertainment shows he is a visionary who truly understands the direction he is headed as a chief executive.
The ambassador said her government plans to approve investments in various businesses at the Reserve and Kwara economy by at least 10 French firms.
“We want to acknowledge the fact that we have been working on a project that is dedicated to the Lata grazing reserve. There will be a committee that will meet in February in Paris at the French Treasury in order to formally award a grant dedicated to the development of the grazing reserve,” she said.
She said a committee will be put in place in February to work on the feasibility study ahead of contract award, and that the implementation will commence in 2024.
She commended the governor and his team for impressively pursuing growth for the state.
The French envoy also signified interest in partnering Kwara on some of its key projects like Innovation Hub, Visual Arts Centre, digital literacy and cultural development, including how to promote the French language in local schools and exchange programme that may see some Kwarans go to France.
Blatmann was accompanied on the visit by the Economic Counsellor in the Embassy Pascal Furth; the Embassy’s Counsellor on Agriculture Sonia Darrace; and Mr. Yohann Narurai. They were received in Ilorin by the governor alongside some cabinet members.
AbdulRazaq, for his part, said the administration has been taking steps to partner with France in agriculture and livestock to check the lingering conflicts between headsmen and farmers, and promote food security in the state.
“Our herders are largely on the move. Something has to give to make them more sedentary. There has to be genuine efforts in that direction for the good of all. With rapid evolution, urbanisation, climate change, reduction in water bodies and properties, and grazing land, there will be more challenges for herdsmen and other economic groups. For this reason, we have been seeing conflicts with farmers and others,” he said.
“So, developing grazing reserves and giving land titles to herdsmen will also create food security for us. It will be a win-win situation. That is why we seek your support and expertise in putting up a good master plan (good feasibility study) on the Grazing Reserve, which will be sustainable,” he said.