(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 meeting openedwith a video message in which President of Nigeria, MuhammaduBuhari, called on his countrymen to diversify the local economyand to focus on agriculture as a tool for the country's furtherdevelopment. "The diversification of our economy can no longerbe postponed," said President Buhari, in office since May 29.Nigeria therefore, "must focus on agriculture as a main pillarof its existence," continued Buhari, who guaranteed Nigerianfarmers "the constant support of the government at all times."This Corporate Social Responsibility project is helping theeconomic diversification of the country, especially the NigerDelta. The new Nigeria can be seen from interviews with leadingmembers of the Green River Project with whom Eni has fordecades successfully worked with local people to supportagricultural development in the Niger Delta. "Over the nextfive years we would like to consolidate the role of the GreenRiver Project as a reference point for the development ofagriculture in the entire region," said Massimo Insulla,Managing Director of Eni in Nigeria, in a video message. TheGreen River Project, explained Mr Insulla, "includes manyinitiatives in support of agricultural development in the ruralcommunities where we operate and beyond, with the primary aimof combating poverty, curbing malnutrition, creating jobs andgenerally stimulating social and economic development. InNigeria Eni has put into practice its model of cooperation withoil producing countries, a model based on cooperation forsustainable and comprehensive social and economic development."Returning to the merits of the programme, Mr Insulla explainedthat, "communities represent the real essence of the GreenRiver Project. It is thanks to them that the project haseffectively reached the local population rapidly becoming asymbol of innovation. The strong sense of belonging shown byfarmers in relation to the Green River Project is for us astrong recognition of the good results that the programme hasachieved." Mr Insulla concluded by saying that in Nigeria thereare about 1,300 employees, "of which more than 90 percent areNigerians." NAOC is active in four Nigerian states with apopulation of around 20 million people and is in contact withmore than 36 communities. During the discussion, moderated byMichele Farina, a journalist on Corriere della Sera, with theparticipation of Senator Alfredo Mantica and Lapo Pistelli,Eni's SVP Stakeholder Relations for Business DevelopmentSupport, people heard the experiences of farmers, smallbusinessmen, women who have had access to microcredit,students, and representatives of the institutions and localcommunities. Symbolically the experiences represent the wholeworld of the Green River Project, the voices and faces of thosewho are part of the project and are committed to contributingto the improvement of agriculture in the Niger Delta andreducing poverty. The meeting included the screening of adocumentary on the 19th NAOC/GRP Farmers' Day 2015 on Oct. 10in Rivers State, which was dedicated to agricultural producersassociated with the Eni project in Nigeria. Eni'ssustainability activities, including the Green River Project,take place in the context of the country's development plans,with particular focus on social activities and on theimprovement of the condition of the local people. The company'sapproach to host countries can be seen by its use of the dualflag image: Eni's six-legged dog plus the local flag. The twoflags fly together not only over plants and oil and gas fields,but also in villages and cities where development projects aretaking place. (AGI) .