How Nigerian farmers can focus on exports

Mr Joseph Idiong, the Director-General, Association of Nigerian Exporters, says one of the major ways Nigeria can prevent rejection of exportable products by other countries is to begin to farm for export.

Idiong said  until necessary measures were put in place to ensure exportable products met international standard, the country would not be able to explore the benefits of export.

“Nigeria does not farm for export. The belief is that we get to the farm, gather some things and get to the port to send them to other countries. It shouldn’t be so.

“Developing export means that we should have farmed for it. You start with soil testing, the type of product to export, pesticides, fertiliser and herbicide.

“Farming for export means looking at everything that will impact on the product and then selecting the type of seedlings that would bring good yield is very important,” he said.

Idiong said there was need to educate Nigerian embassies on their roles in promoting export, adding “they need to be a reorientation if not it will be difficult for us to break into these countries.

“Another area is that Nigeria is always focused on attracting direct foreign investment instead of promoting inbound and outbound investments, except for a few prominent individuals who have invested abroad.

“Government needs to support Nigerians who are ready to invest in other countries; that is one of the ways export can be viable in the country.

“Nigeria has not been able to operate export houses abroad. We made some attempts in African countries but it failed because it was not properly structured.

“We cannot be sending goods to the buyers on a daily basis.

“Also, we need to do something urgent about our ports. Apart from Apapa Port in Lagos, other ports are not functioning optimally. Calabar, Port Harcourt and Warri ports all need to be functional,” he said.

Idiong said that with the recent Africa Free Trade Agreement signed by Nigeria and over 50 African countries, there was need for Nigeria to have a special focus on export development and not just promotion.

Idiong expressed optimism that the Federal Government would give opportunities to export focused individuals and groups to help drive export.

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