Consortium tackles standardisation in Nigerian produce export
Piqued at the prevailing challenges in the Nigerian agricultural export market, a consortium of private investors under the platform of Agricultural Bureau Association of Nigeria (ABAN), has unveiled plans to ensure standardisation of quality of agricultural produce that are exported from the country.
The Convener of the Bureau, and Managing Director, Green Sahara Farms, Suleman Dikwa, during the ABAN inaugural meeting yesterday, in Abuja, disclosed that the aim of the group is to set up a structure wherein they are able to create quality within the agro system such that Nigerian agricultural products are accepted both locally and internationally.
While decrying that poor quality control on most of the exportable produce has been the major challenge militating against the acceptance of local produce at the international markets, Dikwa highlighted good policy articulation, adequate working capital, appropriate technology and adequate infrastructure as key to sustainable agribusiness development in Nigeria.
Dikwa added that being a lobby group, ABAN intends to protect member business interests whereby it would engage government institutions in constructive discussions with a view to achieving set goal of creating sustainable agribusiness in Nigeria.
An agriculture expert, and ABAN member, Dr Tony Bello, identified non-availability of funds, low quantity of inputs, and reduction of participants in the agribusiness as major challenges hindering the growth of Agriculture, and called for intensified efforts toward boosting the nation’s economy through the development of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs).
While explaining that ABAN comprises agribusinesses investors working towards uplifting smallholder farmers to drive inclusive growth for youths and women, Bello urged government at all levels to as a matter of urgency intensify awareness on sustainable agribusiness development, build agribusiness skills and technological capabilities among firms, to enhance Gross Domestic Product (GDP) contributions.
“Our trajectory is taking our destiny into our own hand; we are driving the consumer market, and for the supply of food through the value chain. We want to solve our own constraints as investors. If we focus on the waste alone, we will bring in the right capital.”
Also speaking, the Founder, Women Farmers Advance Network (WOFAN), Mrs Salamatu Garba, highlighted the major challenges to market acceptance to include standardisation, and poor quality control.
She also identified poor packaging as an inhibiting factor, which must be addressed by key players in the sector, saying: “issues like aflatoxin and too much pesticides have constituted a lot of problems in goods we are producing in this country.“We will reduce a lot of waste by transforming it into wealth. This will create job to encourage youths to come into agriculture.”