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Food products represent less than 7% of Nigeria’s trade – Munchow-Pohl

The consul-general, Federal Republic of Germany, Bernd Vin Muchow-Pohl has said that food products represent less than 7 percent of Nigeria’s total trade.

“Less than 7 percent of [sic] total trade of Nigeria represents food products and this includes imports as a country’s negative trade balance also extends to the food sector,” he said

Muchow-Pohl referenced the statistics during his welcome address at the opening ceremony of the Nigeria AgroFood, and Nigeria plastic print and packaging exhibition and conference organised by Fair Trade, as well as the third West Africa Cold Chain Summit and Exhibition (WACCSE) co-located by OTACCWA—Organisation for Technology Advancement of Cold Chain in West Africa.

The German diplomat acknowledged that the food industry and everything that caters to it continues to hold great potential in Nigeria whether in terms of developing domestic markets or export of Agricultural products and processing of foods.

But to turn the negative statistics and become a good net exporter, Nigeria must move up the value chain.

Read Also: Nigeria’s food inflation among world’s highest

“It will need to show more determination to addressing the perennial prop that continue to plague agricultural exporters and manufacturers, importers and exporters alike in various degrees’” he said.

According to Munchow-Pohl, problems which to stifle growth in all sectors of the economy include insecurity in most parts of the country; crumbling infrastructure, and sketchy power supply.

He highlighted the need for a more “reliable and regulatory policy framework to safeguard investment, for better protection of intellectual property rights and adherence to international quality norms and standards.”

Speaking on the three-day event which kicked off on Tuesday, Paul Marz, managing director, Fairtrade, said the exhibition brings technology leaders from around the world to ensure more food processing, more beverage processing in the country [and] less imports of finished goods in the country.

Through the show which also features a conference, Fairtrade seeks to support Nigeria to produce more locally with the latest standards of international technology of machines coming in and to also replace imports of food products into the country.

“We think Nigeria can be agriculturally self-sufficient but needs the right technology to produce high quality because right now we have lost of post-harvest losses,” he said.

While noting that over half of the harvest is spoilt on the way to the markets, he said if Nigeria would process these foods on modern machinery, and package them accordingly, it would be in the position to consume more food that is produced locally and eventually to also export food.

Alexander Isong, president, OTACCWA, an organisation that interfaces with the government to ensure the use of cold chain in addressing problems in the sector, described the 50 percent loss of harvest as a lot of wastage. He said his organisation was advocating for the reduction of post-harvest losses by introducing and supporting the use of cold chain which has to be an integral part of farming.

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