The Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) has announced plans to increase the nation’s non-oil export marketability through enhanced skills in global standards on packaging, therefore reducing post-harvest losses arising from inefficient packaging, storage and preservation systems.
The Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of NEPC, Olusegun Awolowo, said Nigeria has enormous potential in the agricultural sector, but has performed sub-optimally thus far, adding that the council has however identified gaps and recognizes the need to put in place measures that are applicable to ensure the nation’s non-oil export market achieves global benchmarks.
Awolowo during a seminar jointly organized by the Japanese External Trade Organisation (JETRO) on logistical packaging technology for agricultural products, explained that packaging is a global issue and a critical aspect of product development and sustainability in the market, urging exporters to strictly adhere to packaging requirements and legislations particularly as it relates to international trade.
“There is no option than for us to be competitive in the global market and this means producers of vegetables and perishable products have to adopt acceptable packaging systems,” he added.
He pointed out that the main objective of organizing the seminar was to increase the marketability of Nigerian products through enhanced skills in global standards on packaging for export.
According to him, Nigeria currently loses about 40 to 50 per cent of fresh fruits and vegetables produced as a result of poor packaging, handling and preservation, adding that the forum would assist the average Nigerian farmer and exporter to gain better insights into issues related to global standard on packaging for export.
“Our resolve to collaborate with JETRO and other stakeholders is borne out of the need to drastically reduce post-harvest losses among farmers, processors and exporters leading to revenue losses and poor quality produce,” he said.
Also speaking at the event, the Trade Commissioner and Managing Director, JETRO, Taku Miyazaki, said Nigeria has huge potential in agriculture, saying that with the country occupying the leading position within the producing nations of cash crops, Nigeria is presently the biggest supplier of sesame seeds to Japan for the purpose of producing edible oil.
He said last year, Nigeria exported approximately 55,000 metric tonnes of sesame to Japan, maintaining that as a result of this, JETRO is seeking to contribute and encourage exportation of Nigerian agricultural products to the world through the provision of logistical packaging technology to boost non-oil export.
He said the theme of the seminar would avail Nigerians the latest technology to preserve the quality of its agricultural produce, saying that the programme is apt at a time when Nigeria is seeking alternative means to earn foreign exchange while also trying to improve competitiveness as a leading sector for the diversification of the nation’s economy.
He lauded the federal ministry of agriculture and rural development for its recent efforts aimed at driving the nation’s agricultural sector, pointing out that by this move, the Nigerian government is trying to promote the sector to meet both domestic demands and promoting the non-oil export sector.