Nigeria has been losing about 80 per cent of the value of its agricultural products through the export of raw crops to industrialised countries which process and export the finished products back to the country.
Director, Internal Audit, African Export-Import Bank, Mr Abel Osuji, disclosed to newsmen.
Osuji noted that Nigeria must process its exportable agro products to add greater value and maximise income on such products.
He made the remarks while delivering a lecture organised by the University of Port Harcourt’s Faculty of Management Sciences Alumni Class of 1992 reunion.
Speaking on ‘Exploiting Exporting Opportunities across African Regional Market – a Paradigm Shift for Emerging African Entrepreneurs,’ Osuji harped on the imperative of improving the value chain of crops by boosting processing which, in turn, would increase the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country.
The director said that Nigeria and Africa as a whole produce about 80 per cent of global cocoa beans, but what comes to the continent is barely 20 per cent.
He added: “Cocoa is a $100 billion business. Africa and Nigeria have earned only $20 billion of the revenue from cocoa export, but countries that processed the cocoa made $80 billion profit.
“For the continent to take charge of the market, there is a need to increase revenue by exporting processed goods. We are only growing, harvesting, fermenting and exporting and we make only 20 per cent out of the $100 billion coming in.”
Osuji said it was time for Nigeria to take the bull by the horns and service an identified market by grooming entrepreneurs because exporting unprocessed crops is not doing the country any good.
Also speaking, an expert in the shipping industry, Mr Austine Obagidi, said export is paramount for the balance of trade and to ensure the country’s survival.
Obajidi also reiterated the need for the Federal Government to encourage non-oil exports.
“The government is not really focusing on non-oil export. Oil in the nearest future will not be viable because we have innovations like electric cars and very soon, oil prices will go down.
“We need to focus on agriculture. The present government is doing so well. With the closed borders, who knows Nigeria might be the largest exporter of rice like Thailand because agriculture is the way forward,’’ he added.