●Lists 7 agric produce for exports
Nigeria cannot afford to continue to be a dumping ground for cheap subsidised food and agricultural products from other countries
In a bid to boost Nigeria’s non-oil export market, the Federal Government has identified seven agricultural products that will leapfrog its non-oil exports from the current approximated $5 billion to $30 billion by 2025 through its Zero Oil Plan (ZOP) initiative.
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh, said this in Abuja while speaking on the FG’s ZOP initiative.
He said that agriculture has the potential to grow the country’s non-oil sector and shore up the foreign exchange earnings the country is yearning for if the round peg is put in the round hole.
The minister said that the government will not tolerate further rejection of the country’s agric produce that are meant for exports.
Ogbeh, however, clarified that the recent rejection of some yams exported to the United States was due to some mistakes from exporters.
He stated that the yams were stored inside a container in a hot environment for two months before leaving the country’s shores.
The agric minister also said that yam exports from Ghana were also affected, advising exporters against the storage of perishable goods in bad conditions before shipment.
According to him, the ban of beans placed by the European Union on Nigeria is still worrisome to the agric ministry and other relevant agencies of government involved in exports of agric produce.
He said : “We are appalled by the news of the rejection of agricultural product export from Nigeria to the EU. We will not allow such embarrassments in the future. We cannot afford to have our agricultural exports rejected. We will strengthen our regulatory and inspection authorities and ensure that they live up to their mandates. “Our desire for export in agricultural products means there will be a vigorous pursuit of investment in quality control and standardization.”
Consequently, he said the quality issues will be addressed.
“In doing these, we will transform the Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS) to make it responsive to issues of safety and phytosanitary standards in food exports so that its reports will be acceptable globally,” Ogbeh added.
Speaking on Nigeria’s trade policy, he said, “Our trade and investment policies need to be well aligned with the new realities in agriculture. Policies are needed to protect the sector. Nigeria cannot afford to continue to be a dumping ground for cheap subsidised food and agricultural products from other countries.”
Meanwhile, a 13-man NCEP was instituted by the National Economic Council (NEC) chaired by Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo on export promotion.
Jigawa State Governor, Mohammed Abubakar is the chairman of the committee.
Members include Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi; Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode; Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh; CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele; and Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola.
The CEO of Nigeria Export Promotion Council, Olusegun Awolowo, Director General of NEPZA, Emmanuel Jime, Managing Director, NEXIM, Abba Bello and Permanent Secretary of MBNP, Leon Aliboh are also members among others.
At the inaugural meeting of the National Committee on Export Promotion Council (NCEP) in Abuja, the seven agricultural products being targeted by government include, cocoa, cashew, arabic gum, sesame seeds, hides and skin, apricot and banana.
Besides, these agricultural produce had been identified as potential alternatives to oil in generating foreign exchange through exports for the country.
NCEP believed that the initiative was meant to aggressively develop the country’s key agricultural produce for exports and also replace oil as Nigeria’s major source of foreign exchange.
According to Ogbeh, the committee would be collaborating with a private international investor on the production of Sesame Seeds, adding that the NCEP has identified potential export markets for the produce in Japan, Turkey and China.
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