The Ekiti State Government says it is joining hands with the Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC) to boost the export of bananas produced in the state.
The State’s Commissioner for Investment, Trade and Industry, Muyiwa Olumilua, disclosed this on Tuesday while declaring open a Stakeholders’ Forum on Banana Development for Export.
Olumilua disclosed that NEPC had required the state to select a single crop for which it has the greatest comparative advantage for promotion support.
He noted that the state had more to gain from growing crops such as banana, cassava, rice, yam, cocoa and cashew.
He further explained that because the state is one of the highest producers of banana and cassava in Nigeria, the partnership with NEPC would go a long way in supporting the agenda of transforming agriculture in the State.
He explained, “With the proactive measures put in place by the State Government, Ekiti has no business with poverty anymore. It is a known fact the state is landlocked and has virtually no prospect in oil production.
“The State, however, from time immemorial, has always been very rich in agriculture, and the intention of the government to make poverty history in the State has become more emboldened with the massive opportunities dotting the landscape becoming clearer.
“The current partnership would, in fact, further develop the economy of the state.”
On his part, the Executive Director of NEPC, Olusegun Awolowo, lauded the state government for its efforts towards boosting non-oil export.
Awolowo, represented by the Council’s Regional Coordinator, Samuel Oyeyipo, explained that NEPC’s vision is to make the world a marketplace for Nigerian non-oil exports and to achieve an all-inclusive economic growth.
The Council boss also noted the demand for bananas has been on the rise and will be of immense benefit to Ekiti State as it plans to leverage on existing opportunities.
“The global outlook for bananas has been on the rise and will continue on the upward surge in the years to come. This provides a lot of opportunity for the development of this product in Ekiti State,” he added.