The Federal Government has stressed that Geographical Indications (GIs) will help in promoting diversification of the economy and also support participation in the African Continental Free Trade Area.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sabo Nanono, made this known at the capacity building workshop on GIs for public sector/policymakers in Nigeria in Abuja.
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Nanono, who was represented by the Deputy Director of Irrigation and Crop development, Haija Sugra Mahmood, noted that the initiative if properly harnessed, will also support the preservation of the country’s biodiversity that is facing an existential threat from the effects of climate change and the attendant destruction of the environment.
According to him, it can assist in commercializing the products of food culture and other aspects of culture thus enabling the value chain actors to benefit from the commercialization, especially women and youth in the rural space who are mainly involved in the production of these products.
“Therefore, this workshop comes at a crucial moment when this administration is working tirelessly to diversify the country’s economy away from Hydrocarbons, by promoting other sectors such as Agriculture, Manufacturing, Mining, Tourism etc.
“Initiatives such as this that promote the GIs will help to fast track the processes in the diversification of the economy and also support our participation in the African Continental Free Trade Area as well as globally.
“GIs can be catalytic in reviving the rural economy as we have seen it happen in the case of some products that have been properly branded such as Ofada Rice, Kilishi, Dudu Osun, etc.
“It will also enable the documentation of our indigenous knowledge which sadly we are losing as time passes.
“The current administration stands ready to partner with all the relevant stakeholders both local and foreign in its bid to preserve the natural and bio-cultural diversity endowment in the country and also exploit it to strengthen the resilience of the economy, so as to provide a decent livelihood for all Nigerians,” he stated.
Earlier, the Minister of State Industry, Trade and Investment, Haija Mariam Katagum, in her welcome address, said that the workshop is specifically designed to train Public Sector and Policy Makers in Nigeria, with a view to examining the possibilities of adopting Geographical Indications (GIs) legislation and policy into Nigeria’s industrial property and agricultural landscape.
She said that it is imperative to also highlight the coming into effect of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA), which puts a responsibility on decision-makers, to begin the discourse of updating industrial property legislation.