The Internal Audit Director of the African Export-Import Bank, Mr Abel Osuji, has said that Nigeria must process its export-bound agricultural products to add greater value to maximize income on the products.
Osuji gave the advice in Lagos while delivering a lecture entitled: “Exploiting Exporting Opportunities across African Regional Market – a Paradigm Shift for Emerging African Entrepreneurs”.
The lecture was organised by the University of Port Harcourt Faculty of Management Sciences Alumni Class of 1992.
Osuji, who is a member of the set, said there was need to develop the agriculture value-chain, to boost processing and increase income for the nation.
He argued that 80 per cent of revenue was usually lost because value was never added to agro produce export from Nigeria and Africa at large.
According to him, exporting processed goods apart from increasing revenue will also help the nation to take charge of markets from production through processing to distribution.
“Exporting things unprocessed is not doing our country any good,” he posited.
Citing cocoa, he said that Africa earned only 20 per cent of the revenue from cocoa export while countries that processed the commodity made 80 per cent profit.
“Cocoa is a $100 billion business. Africa produces about 80 per cent seeds but what comes to the continent as income is only 20 per cent. Why is this so?
“Africa is only playing in the first segment. Growing, collection, fermentation and exporting and we make only $20 billion out of the $80 billion coming in.”
He said the time for portfolio investment was gone and that it was time for Nigeria to take the bull by the horn and service an identified market by grooming entrepreneurs.
The director also stressed the need to increase food processing to avert huge post-harvest loses in Nigeria and other African countries.
He explained the benefits of developing the yam value-chain, noting that Nigeria produced 67 per cent of total yam produce from West Africa but was exporting less than one per cent of the commodity.
Osuji also spoke on export opportunities in arts, fashion and the garments’ industry as well as tourism and the waste value-chain.
According to him, the waste sector value-chain offers huge opportunities through recycling, especially in a high-density city like Lagos.
Also speaking, Mr Austine Obajidi, a shipping expert, stressed the need for the Federal Government to encourage non-oil exports.
“For any country to survive, it needs to do export so that there will be balance of trade,” stressing the need for exporters to secure genuine contracts and carry out proper documentations with relevant agencies.
Another member of the body, Mr Stanley Okocha, called for sustained funding of research on agriculture to grow the nation’s non-oil sector.
Okocha said that the nation’s leadership must incorporate the academia by funding research to achieve innovation in agriculture.
“We have to take agriculture seriously. Government should reinvent the agriculture value-chain and we must work out solutions for sustainable development.
“For that sustainable development to happen, we must develop our agriculture research institutes and develop technology to make progress.”