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Nigeria Targets Export of 600,000 Tons of Agri-produce Worth $10bn in 2026

BusinessNigeria Targets Export of 600,000 Tons of Agri-produce Worth $10bn in 2026

Nigeria is targeting to export over 600, 000 tons of agricultural produce by 2026 and earn a projected revenue of about $10 billion per annum, to overtake Kenya, which is currently number one in the export of agricultural produce in Africa.

In 2021 alone, Kenya exported over 300, 000 tons of coffee, tea, cut flower and vegetables worth $6. 75 billion.

To realise this target, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) established the Aviacargo Committee to identify impediment to Nigeria’s exports and how to overcome such impediments and boost the volume of what Nigeria exports to the world.

The committee was able to establish that Nigeria is major producer of yam, cassava, Cocoa, groundnuts (peanuts), rubber, palm oil, and taro. Nigeria is the largest producer of taro in the world as well as cowpeas and sorghum.

Nigeria currently exports over 200, 000 tons of agri-produce but has potential to export more.  Nigeria’s agricultural produce, although in high demand, is not accepted due to lack of standardization and certification.

So, the objective of the Avia-Cargo Committee is to find ways Nigeria agricultural produce can meet the standardization and acceptance of the targeted markets overseas, as the demand for Nigerian produce continues to increase in Europe, in the United States and other parts of the world.

THISDAY learnt that in the past, Nigerians and other Africans overseas demand for Nigeria’s agricultural produce but now other people outside Africa have developed high taste for Nigerian foods and what is currently exported cannot meet their demand.

So, the challenge is how to prepare farm produce from Nigeria to meet the standards of those countries where they are in demand.

THISDAY spoke exclusively with the Chairman of AviaCargo Committee, Ambassador Ikechi Uko at the sidelines of the Chinet Aviacargo Conference, which ended yesterday in Lagos.

Uko who is also the organizer of the conference, told THISDAY that for Nigeria’s produce to be accepted in various markets overseas, it must meet the required standard and the needed certifications.

“The major challenge we have in exporting more of our produce is that we are not able to move produce from farm to the airport. That’s one. Then certification is a problem. This is because most of our airports are not certified for perishable goods export. So, the basic thing is traceability (how to trace the source of the produce), certification; then you have the problem of logistics, which is the biggest problem. When people say, oh there are too many agencies at the airports; that the problem is at the airport; no. That is just part of the problem. To be able to bring it from where it is to the airport is a major problem,” he said.

Uko said that if Nigeria is able to get the right certifications and overcome the challenge of logistics it would be able to become number one exporter of agricultural produce from Africa in two and half years and this would push up its revenue to projected $10 billion per annum.

“Kenya, which is the current number one is exporting over 300, 000 tons per annum. For us to be number one we have to do more than 500, 000 or 600, 000 per annum because number one is not sleeping. Kenya is number one. They have already developed a capacity for more than a million tons per annum. They are not going to wait for you. They have about 1.3 million throughputs already in place. So, they are not going to wait for you to be able to catch up with them, which means that for us to be number one we have to outpace them.

“So, whatever we are earning today from exports at over 200, 000 tons per annum, multiply that by six. So, whatever we are doing today, for us to excel others we are going to do six times more than that. We are actually increasing the value to the economy and that is straight forward,” Uko further said.

He said that the work already done by the committee would chart a new course for the export of farm produce because it has identified the problem of the farmer, the farm produce and the exporter and how to solve them.

“I believe in the next two and half years we will be able to get to number one if we are able to implement the things that have been identified. Government is simplifying the processes at the airports. The other barriers about traceability can be solved by the stakeholders because government is not doing the business, people have to buy into that protocol and be able to get their goods from the farms certified. Government has set up the agencies. You now need to work with the agencies and integrate them. The problem is integrating this process. So, what FAAN is trying to do is to help create a roadmap, ”he explained.

Ambassador Uko said that when the committee submits its report it would outline the guideline that would be followed to actualise these set goals.

“When we submit our reports, it will help because we are just learning those things ourselves. We should be able to share that knowledge after we have been able to put this protocol together. There is protocol. There is also service level agreement. There will be service level agreements, standard of operations (SOPs); so many things we shall put in place that will help the whole value chain,” he said.

Uko also emphasized that testing what is to be exported to make sure it meets the standard of the recipient country is very imperative because when the standard is made the market will become open to Nigeria’s exporters.

So, laboratories are extremely crucial. This is because we come from a suspect country. They believe our standard are not high. We need to be able to certify everything that comes out of Nigeria. It is like having IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA). So, the laboratories are important and these standardisations and certifications are also very important,” he added.

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