Northwest can generate $2.5b from cotton yearly, says NEPC

Executive Director, Nigerian Export Promotion Council, Olusegun Awolowo

As NACCIMA, NIPC Task Farmers On Agritech For Food Security

The North West region of the country is said to possess the potential of earning $2b to $2.5b yearly from cotton exports, but to achieve this, two to three million hectares of cultivated land will be needed.

Executive Director, Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Mr. Segun Awolowo, who disclosed this at the Meet The Farmers Conference (MTFC) Nigeria 2018 titled: “The Future Of Agribusiness,” held in Lagos, listed rice, soya beans, sugar, ginger, sesame, cocoa, cowpea, and cassava, among others, as major export drivers, with comparative advantage cutting across the geo-political zones.

He advised farmers to intensify efforts at increasing production and adhere strictly to international best practices and standard requirements for effective market access.

In his keynote address with the topic: “Nigeria’s Agriculture Commodity Export Strategy,” Awolowo, represented by Deputy Director of the council, Mr. Samuel Oyedipe said efforts should be made to improve standards.

“When a farmer decides to venture into export, they should interface with agencies like NEPC to guide them during the process to ensure that the products are not rejected at the international market. It is believed that countries that export agriculture products are wealthier than others who do not. China, U.S and Germany are the world’s largest exporters. Nigerian beans is currently under suspension by the European Union (EU) because of the high residue level, which is not suitable for the market.

“We are however, happy that we are close to getting the EU to lift the ban on the commodity and because of this, NEPC has embarked on several engagements to ensure that such never happened again,” he said.

President of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Chief Alaba Lawson, urged farmers to keep to globally accepted standards, which is key productivity and international acceptability.

“Farmers should pay attention to GAP before thinking of exporting their products to reduce the rate of rejection from the international market. Look at the issues we had with yam and beans export, they were rejected by the EU because of the level of residue found in the commodities that did not conform with their standards. Nigerians are resilient and NACCIMA believes that engaging the right ideas in the sector will drive food security,” she said.

Representative of Nigerian Investment Promotion Council (NIPC), Ms Yewande Sadiku, represented by Director of Investment Promotion, Mr. Emmanuel Adesina, said there had been massive investments in the agriculture sector, adding that there should be more activities in the sector that will attract foreign investments because Nigeria has capacity for foreign earnings.

“Agriculture is the largest contributor to employment and GDP contributors of about 25 per cent and Nigeria has capacity for foreign earnings. There should be improved infrastructure in the free trade zones and the private sector should look at quality packaging,” she said.

The convener, Ms Bola Oyedele, who doubles as the Business Lead of Crenov8 Consulting, organisers of the conference said the event, second in its series, was an avenue to link African farmers to the Middle Eastern market.

Oyedele said the rate of post-harvest losses was alarming in Nigeria, hence the need to employ agritech to adequately address the issue.

Executive Director of Eltees Farms Limited, Mr. Tolu Adesanya, said technology depended on proper application, noting that many farmers are employing so much technology, but those technologies are lying somewhere without achieving its purpose.

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