Experts seek value addition to boost Nigeria’s agric export 

Augustine Aminu with agency reports

Experts in Agriculture have appealed to stakeholders in Agric business to focus on agric export and value addition in Agricultural product to boost the the country’s economic growth.

The experts noted that the gesture would boost the Nigerian export market.

They made the appeal in Abeokuta on Sunday at the 2nd edition and Annual National Conference of the Obafemi Awolowo University Muslim Graduates Association (UNIFEMGA), Ogun chapter.

The conference had the theme: “Agricultural Export Potentials: Panacea for National Economic growth.”

Guest Speaker, Mrs Francisca Odega, Trade Promotion Advisors, Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC),  said that there was the need for the country to diversify into non-oil sector, especially Agricultural.

Odega, who spoke on the topic “Harnessing Export Potential in Agriculture”, saying there were lots of potentials in exporting agricultural produce.

Odega, who was represented by Mr Steve Adeniji from NEPC, said that embracing agriculture and exporting agricultural produce increased the growth of the economy.

She noted that it would help investors gain access to the international market and also promote a bigger opportunity in the export business.

She suggested that Nigeria’s agricultural sector which used to be the mainstream of the economy, still had the potential to change the country’s economic growth.

Odega, however, identified poor logistics and documentation among the challenges hindering Nigeria’s export market, saying that the challenges had made most producers go through illegal procedures and documentations.

“Currently, we have over 2,500 cases of exports rejected because they did not go through the right export procedure and documentations,” Odega said.

She urged participants to approach agencies like the NEPC responsible for exporting activities to put them through in the processes of export before venturing into exporting agro produce.

Also speaking, Dr. Abdul-Rafiu Monsur, Head, Seed Technology Unit, National Horticulture Research institute, Ibadan, spoke on the economic benefit of cashew production.

Monsur noted that there were various opportunities Nigerians could harnessed in exporting their agricultural produce.

He said exporting agricultural produce would help to earn foreign exchange and contribute to national growth and development of the country.

He explained that cashew was one of the major foreign exchange earners for the country, saying it was the second largest that is giving the country foreign exchange.

He added that cashew had provided a lot of opportunities in reducing employment, noting that over 300,000 Nigerians involved in the value chain, had been taken off the streets through cashew production.

According to him, cashew is a multipurpose plant with a lot of economic importance used in controlling desertification as well as medicinal in treatment of diseases among others.

He, however, stressed the need for value addition in cashew production, saying that the lack of value addition to agricultural produce had resulted in significant losses in earnings.

Alhaji Ambali Ishola, the Chairman of the Occasion, urged Nigerians to fully participate in agric business and its value chains, saying that it would boost the country’s food security and self sufficiency in food production.

Mr Nurain Hassan, an exporter in Cocoa and Cashew, encouraged more Nigerians in the export business to portray integrity and consistency in their exporting activities.

He noted that value addition on Nigeria’s agricultural produce would increase the global market share and also help in diversification of the economy and attract investors to the non-oil sectors.

He, however, advocated for policy to address factors militating against agricultural production in the country.

The National President of UNIFEMGA, Mr Abdul-Fattah Olanlega, stated that the programme is an economic empowerment initiatives of the association.

Olanlega said the theme was a well timed one which reflected on the current needs of the nation to exponentially boost the export market and bring in more foreign exchange and stabilize the naira.

Olalenga said that the programme would enlighten participants on Nigeria’s cash crops market, the opportunities and potentials  in various market that would empower and encourage them in creating wealth.

The Host, Mr Olarewaju Tairu, Chairman, UNIFEMGA, Ogun chapter, said that Agriculture is a worthwhile investment that could generate higher returns.

Tairu said that the programme was organised to also educate stakeholders not to limit their agric business on only production but to also see opportunities in exporting their commodities.

“We noticed that most producers of crops shy away from export, that is what gives us the initiative to organise this programme for our members, and others in the agric business.

“The programme will make them have the knowledge on the  processes involved in exporting agricultural produce and also assist them in agricultural operations,” he said.

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