The Federal Government on Friday in Abuja received the report of a Technical Committee set up to prevent the rejection of agro-exports from Nigeria.
Receiving the report, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Adeniyi Adebayo, assured the committee of the political will to implement the recommendations.
According to Adebayo, the implementation of the committee’s recommendations will increase the export basket of agricultural commodities and foreign exchange earnings for the country.
“It would, therefore, require a synergy between the relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies and the private sector to yield these fruits.
“I am, however, convinced that beyond the strength of your recommendations, there is the need for adequate attention to their implementation.
“You all are aware that government cannot do it alone, therefore, the cooperation of the private sector and other non-state actors will be critical in achieving the objective for which your committee was put in place.
“Suffice it to state that the recommendations of the Technical Committee are to be driven by the private sector with the government providing the enabling environment,” he said.
The minister, however, urged stakeholders in the agro-export business to support the implementation of the recommendations.
Earlier, the Chairman of the Committee, Mr Suleiman Audu, said that food safety, technical barrier, non-adherence to best practices and disregard to basic requirements were largely responsible for the rejection of Nigeria agro-exports abroad.
According to Audu, the committee recommends that the ministry should sensitise farmers and operators in the agricultural value chain to secure and adopt Global GAP certifications in collaboration with the private sector.
He also emphasised the need for a dedicated budget to fund the Global GAP training, traceability and certification of all their farmers, to enable their products qualify for exports under the Federal Government initiative.
“The private sector should be enabled by the Federal Government to develop QR Code Traceability Card for the registration of all the operators and their agricultural commodities.
“This is in order to enhance transparency, traceability and engender visibility and acceptability for exportable agro commodities,’’ Audu said.
He said that the ministry should collaborate with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and research institutes to scale up research and development activities critical in improving produce, products, packaging and labeling requirements.
“Similarly, all relevant regulatory authorities in the agro export value chain should commence the process of automating their processes and procedures; synchronize them with the APUs, in order to curb infractions and ensure that only quality and certified products are exported,’’ Audu said.
He further said that the trade ministry and the private sector should collaborate with Nigerian Incentive based Risk Sharing insurance and Agricultural liabilities (NIRSAL) SAT-C programme, to support logistics hubs and develop transportation facilities and aggregation facilities.
“This is in order to reduce overhead costs and create momentum for trade.
“The Federal Government through FMITI, should enable the private sector to collaborate with all agencies involved in agro export activities to create a one stop shop through the use of technology (Application Programme Interface – API), to enhance ease of export.
“The Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC) in collaboration with FMITI should produce documents, jingles and offline promotional campaigns in major Nigerian languages,” he said.
The Alternate Chairman, Capt. John Okakpu, said that the committee exhaustively deliberated on the problems of the rejections of Nigeria agro export commodities in foreign markets and provided efficient and sustainable recommendations to the anomaly.
“It is worthy to note that the support and enablement from the government has stimulated some of our members from the organised private sector to come out to participate in the process of driving the agro export activities in the country.
“Due to the dwindling income that is a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine, it is pertinent for the government to use its scarce resources for other important sectors of the economy.
“While the organised private sector mobilise funds to implement the recommendations of the problems of rejections of agro export commodities.
The committee was constituted by the Minister on May 26, to look into the issue of rejection of Nigeria agro-exports at the international market and proffer appropriate recommendations to halt the trend.