Nigeria remains one of the world’s largest producers of exportable agricultural commodities, with enough potential for revenue generation if properly tapped, international trade experts have agreed.
The submission was made during a Virtual Townhall Meeting hosted by the Network of Practicing Non-oil Exporters of Nigeria (NPNEN). The focal point of the discussion was to address the “Good, Bad and Ugly Sides of Export in Nigeria.”
Launched in 2020, the NPNEN seeks to achieve a globally competitive non-oil trading system in Nigeria.
According to one of the discussants, Bamidele Ayemibo, Nigerian agricultural produce are capable of generating revenue through export, particularly through maximising the opportunity presented by the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
Cassava, soya beans, cashew, yam, maize, tomatoes, cow skin, cocoa, among others, made the list of commodities with untapped potential in the international market, presented by the international trade expert.
“In a world of almost 200 countries, Nigeria is still among the top producers of major exportable agricultural commodities,” he stated.
According to him, Nigeria has managed to retain that position despite several challenges ranging from inflation to slow rate of agricultural mechanisation, post-harvest losses and infrastructural deficit.
In his presentation, Ayemibo showed the revenue potential of each crop, ranging from cashew which is pegged at $58.1 billion, to banana at $13.1 billion. According to his presented infographic, palm oil is pegged at $33.2 billion.
On the challenges encountered, particularly that of infrastructure, the panelists proffered solutions ranging from proper pricing to total industrialisation and economic orientation for export regulatory bodies.
Prince Alum suggested the use of national carriers to export fresh produce across borders. According to him, it will equally reduce the expenses incurred during transportation.
“In the agricultural sector, there cannot be a successful export of fresh products without a national carrier.
“Most times, when we ship our goods from Nigeria, it first goes to Turkey or Ethiopia. Sometimes, they get lost in transit but if we had a national carrier that could bring things to England or Rome, that would help reduce the cost of bringing in goods.”
Another panelist, Sada Ladan Baki, alluded to the era of State Commodity Boards for agricultural produce monitoring. According to him, the boards communicated export requirements at home and the destination
countries- a key requirement which is lacking today, he stated.
He said, “We have scrapped state produce and commodity inspection agents. When we were exporting cocoa, groundnut and the likes, we had produce inspectors who go to
do the certifications and it was the duty of the regulatory agencies to get the regulatory requirements for the importing countries.”
Responding, a representative of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Chioma Chudi-Anaukwu, advised non-oil exporters to contact the Organisation for export requirements of their products.
“At the national enquiry point, we are connected to all the national enquiry points of all the countries as far as World Trade Organisation (WTO) is concerned.
“We have platforms. You can get information on the requirements, via a chat; without logging in or sending in an official mail to that enquiry point,” she stated.