Business is booming.

Farmers Urged to Increase Farm Produces for Export

By George George Idowu

In a bid to enhance economic growth and generate foreign exchange, the Benue state government has urged farmers to ramp up the production of sesame (beniseed), yam, soybean, and other key crop for export.

Hyacinth Alia, the governor, disclosed this during a two-day stakeholders’ forum in Makurdi Organized by the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) in collaboration with the Benue State Committee on Export Promotion (SCEP).

The governor, who was speaking through his Commissioner for Industry, Trade and Investment, Orpin Manasseh Alumo, said this initiative is aimed at exploring the non-oil export potential of the state.

With the theme “Exploring Non-oil Export Potentials of Benue State for Job Creation, Poverty Reduction and Sustainable Economic Growth,” Governor Alia underscored the significance of the forum in shaping a prosperous future for the state.

He emphasized the government’s commitment to leveraging the untapped potential of Benue’s non-oil export sector to foster job creation, poverty alleviation, and sustainable economic development.

Governor Alia outlined the state’s strategic focus on exportable products such as sesame, yam, soybean, shea, solid minerals, fashion and beauty products, and services.

He said: “We will focus on a few targeted exportable products such as sesame, yam, soybean, shea, solid mineral, fashion and beauty products as well as services for export.

“Consequently, we will put in place policies and programmes that will enhance non-oil export activities and stimulate investment in the state to generate foreign exchange by our citizens.”

Highlighting Benue’s comparative advantages, including fertile soil, abundant river resources, and rich cultural heritage, Governor Alia stressed the need to capitalize on these assets for economic prosperity.

He expressed his administration’s commitment to increasing the participation of smallholder producers in non-oil export activities and to growing the state’s export base by 10 per cent annually.

The coordinator of NEPC in Benue State, Olu Ikulajolu, echoed the governor’s sentiments, noting Benue’s vast array of agricultural commodities and mineral resources.

However, he identified challenges such as low awareness among farmers, poor product quality, and limited market knowledge as obstacles hindering the state’s export potential.

The stakeholders’ forum served as a platform to address these challenges and chart a course towards maximizing Benue’s non-oil export opportunities in alignment with the Operation Double Your Export campaign initiated by NEPC.

Governor Alia reiterated his administration’s commitment to creating a business-friendly environment conducive to economic growth and prosperity for all.

 

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