(AGI) Rho (Milan), Oct 12 - The curtain was raised on Nigeriaat Milan Expo 2015 on Monday, where the Green River Project(GRP) was outlined during an event organised by Eni at CasaCorriere. This multi-year integrated project was started in1987 with the aim of supporting agricultural development in thefour states where Eni's Nigerian subsidiary, the Nigerian AgipOil Company (NAOC), operates: Imo, Delta, Rivers and Bayelsa.More than 35,000 farmers have taken part and the project, whichnow involves more than 120 communities, has had a direct orindirect impact on more than 500,000 people. The meetingopened with a video message in which President of Nigeria,Muhammadu Buhari, called on his countrymen to diversify thelocal economy and to focus on agriculture as a tool for thecountry's further development. "The diversification ofour economy can no longer be postponed," said President Buhari,in office since May 29. Nigeria therefore, "must focus onagriculture as a main pillar of its existence," continuedBuhari, who guaranteed Nigerian farmers "the constant supportof the government at all times." This Corporate SocialResponsibility project is helping the economic diversificationof the country, especially the Niger Delta. The new Nigeria canbe seen from interviews with leading members of the Green RiverProject with whom Eni has for decades successfully worked withlocal people to support agricultural development in the NigerDelta. "Over the next five years we would like to consolidatethe role of the Green River Project as a reference point forthe development of agriculture in the entire region," saidMassimo Insulla, Managing Director of Eni in Nigeria, in avideo message. The Green River Project, explained Mr Insulla,"includes many initiatives in support of agriculturaldevelopment in the rural communities where we operate andbeyond, with the primary aim of combating poverty, curbingmalnutrition, creating jobs and generally stimulating socialand economic development. In Nigeria Eni has put into practiceits model of cooperation with oil producing countries, a modelbased on cooperation for sustainable and comprehensive socialand economic development." Returning to the merits of theprogramme, Mr Insulla explained that, "communities representthe real essence of the Green River Project. It is thanks tothem that the project has effectively reached the localpopulation rapidly becoming a symbol of innovation. The strongsense of belonging shown by farmers in relation to the GreenRiver Project is for us a strong recognition of the goodresults that the programme has achieved." Mr Insulla concludedby saying that in Nigeria there are about 1,300 employees, "ofwhich more than 90 percent are Nigerians." NAOC is active infour Nigerian states with a population of around 20 millionpeople and is in contact with more than 36 communities. Duringthe discussion, moderated by Michele Farina, a journalist onCorriere della Sera, with the participation of Senator AlfredoMantica and Lapo Pistelli, Eni's SVP Stakeholder Relations forBusiness Development Support, people heard the experiences offarmers, small businessmen, women who have had access tomicrocredit, students, and representatives of the institutionsand local communities. Symbolically the experiences representthe whole world of the Green River Project, the voices andfaces of those who are part of the project and are committed tocontributing to the improvement of agriculture in the NigerDelta and reducing poverty. The meeting included thescreening of a documentary on the 19th NAOC/GRP Farmers' Day2015 on Oct. 10 in Rivers State, which was dedicated toagricultural producers associated with the Eni project inNigeria. Eni's sustainability activities, including the GreenRiver Project, take place in the context of the country'sdevelopment plans, with particular focus on social activitiesand on the improvement of the condition of the local people.The company's approach to host countries can be seen by its useof the dual flag image: Eni's six-legged dog plus the localflag. The two flags fly together not only over plants and oiland gas fields, but also in villages and cities wheredevelopment projects are taking place. (AGI) . .