Dr Kenechukwu Nnamani is the chief executive officer of Kvas Group, which has been involved in the exportation of Agric produce from Nigeria to China, then from Senegal to China, in the last seven years. In this interview with Daily Trust on Sunday in Abuja, he explained Nigeria’s huge opportunities and what he is doing to help farmers penetrate deeper into the Chinese market. ADVERTISEMENT What do you do in the agricultural sector?
Basically, we find people from China who need a particular product that Nigeria has in abundance. And we have a lot of them. We bring them down to Nigeria. Sometimes they set up a company, sometimes they may want to grow those products by themselves, and sometimes they want to buy from local farmers and export to China. What type of Agricultural products do you help Nigerian farmers export to China? Cashew nuts, ginger, garlic and peanuts are highly needed in China. While Nigeria has been restricted from shipping peanuts to China, Benin Republic has the liberty to do so. Senegal also has access to ship peanuts, and they take it to China in a very huge quantity. How are you going to help Nigerian farmers get some of their Agro products massively into Asia, Europe and America? The truth of the matter is that although the Nigerian government is promoting agriculture, there is no proper system to enlighten people that it is not just about having a farm, agribusiness is big business. It can take any country from one level to another, Bangladesh is doing fine, Vietnam is awesome, thanks to agribusiness. Basically, I am creating an ecosystem where farmers complement one another. The ecosystem is going to be freely accessible to everybody that is thinking agriculture in Nigeria, especially on a large scale. There are some licences and expertise you need to actually be able to set up an Agric exporting business. That’s what I want to set up. As a farmer, if you are into cashew nuts, but what you have is just 10 metric tonnes and another farmer can do 20 and you guys don’t know each other. A farmer or an importer from China might need 30 tonnes and what you can afford is 10, how do you know who can give you 20 tonnes? Sometimes there will be conflict in the market, where you are giving me your 10 tonnes at N1 and the other person is giving his own 20 at N2, which means you guys will not see eyeball to eyeball, and the business will not succeed. This ecosystem brings people under one room.
Apart from China, we are looking at expanding to other countries that actually take these things in large quantities. We send out the news to them, and when they come, they come to the ecosystem to get these things at once; and it makes it easy. It encourages farmers not to worry about a market for their produce. The only solution is to have an ecosystem that will help people move out of Nigeria, and this is what I am planning to set up now. The standard has also been an issue because most times we produce things that do not meet the specifications of those countries we want to export to. How are you going to help farmers in this regard? I will organise training for free for people who evidently have access to growing any particular product. I have done free training for a lot of people already and we will keep doing that. Basically, we will set up an online platform that will be able to reach out to every person in Nigeria on the information you need to know to make your agricultural produce up to standard. This is the easiest way. I am running this for free because at the end of the day if we are able to create this ecosystem, we can all benefit from it. There are so many people that have lands that can grow cashew or other crops but don’t have money to pay for training. I don’t want you to pay me to tell you what you need to know. I can make that information accessible for you as a document, audio or video.
All you need to do is to abide by the standard I’m teaching you afterwards, I can help you take those products outside Nigeria. Are you working with government agencies that regulate the exportation of Nigerian products? I don’t want to work directly with any government agency in Nigeria because it made a lot of things happening in the private sector inefficient. You don’t have to work with them for these things to start happening. The most important thing you need is simple. If I need any licence, all I need to do is tell the person who is interested that this is the procedure; and it is straightforward. The most important documents you need to get to export are your normal CAC and NEPC. All other things are inspection documents, photo-sanitary, SGS and so forth; you don’t need to work with any government agency. Are you also planning to set up a farm? We all have our own areas of expertise. And whatever we do, we do it well. Even if I want to set up a farm, it won’t meet the need of the world. And if I have a farm, I will be more focused on selling my products than accommodating every other farmer. The idea is the same poverty alleviation the government talks about. The easiest way is through farming and export. Any farmer that has a product of $500 in his farm can earn $500 cash without having a big farm because the person is a member of an ecosystem that can get your small quantity to add to another small quantity and make it big.
SOURCE: DAILY TRUST