FG Earmarks 22 Agro-commodities for Export Promotion

The Federal Government is targeting 22 agricultural commodities for export promotion, in line with its zero-oil plan implemented through the Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC).

The initiative, in partnership with the private sector, is projected to worth over $150 billion in annual export value.

Agro-commodities targeted include; palm oil, cashew, soya beans, cocoa, rubber, rice, petrochemical, leather, ginger, cotton and Shea butter, tomato, banana and plantain, spices, cowpeas, and cassava.

According to the Executive Director of the NEPC, Olusegun Awolowo, the government was ready to tap into the comparative advantages of sub-nationals, in order to generate revenue and make agro-commodities competitive in the global market.

He revealed this during a meeting with Nigeria Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO), Free On Board (FOB) Global Logistics Limited, and technical partners from Spain, India, Dubai, and South Africa, on Wednesday in Lagos.

He said, “There is much we can take through cargo and particularly, we are looking at agricultural products that can arrive in Europe the next day fresh. That is the crux of this venture. 

“For our zero oil plans, we have identified 22 products Nigeria can sell. The aim is to promote Nigerian goods and find a market to sell them, and our ‘one state one product’ plan is key to this. 

“It means that each state of the country will give us at least one product that we can market, package and export.

 “The country is blessed and yet we are still fixated on oil. We must put more money into non-oil exports. We spend millions of dollars drilling for oil, and most times we come up with naught, but we do not invest in the non-oil sector.”

Awolowo noted that despite the constraints inherent in processing the products to exportable standards, there was a huge revenue potential for Nigerian agro-products in the global market.

He decried Nigeria’s inability to benefit totally from petrochemical export as a result of its local refining inadequacies.

The inadequacy, he noted, has made agro-commodity export imperative. Cashew production and export was also on the increase, with Vietnam as one of the importing countries, he added.

On his part, Free on Board (FOB) Global Logistics’ Chief Executive, Jimi Adebakin, urged Nigerians to leverage the opportunities open to them through the export of agricultural commodities.

“We are creating warehouses in all major cities of the world. We have 170 technical partners in 170 countries and warehouses in 3,700 cities of the world. 

“So, what we are saying is bring your products that are made by you, labelled by you, take advantage of our freight services, and make a profit. The days of people saying ‘I’m unemployed in Nigeria’ should be over.

“If we put the same energy we put in importation and exportation, nobody can touch us. There is a new possibility daily. We move 20 tonnes in cargo but with the right awareness, we ought to be moving 100 tonnes and more,” he said.

The FOB Boss also charged the government to allow for the involvement of low-income exporters in driving this initiative.

SOURCE: AGRONIGERIA

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