The Netherlands consulate in Lagos and AFEX commodities exchange has partnered to boost agricultural commodities exports from Nigeria to the Netherlands.
This was revealed at a roundtable discussion on Thursday where stakeholders in the agric and trade sector focused on scaling existing trade and resolving bottlenecks.
“As the fastest growing company on the African continent, AFEX has seen steep growth of exports,” Hanneke Schuiling, vice-minister for Foreign Trade of the Kingdom of The Netherlands, said.
She said the company accounts for 10 percent of the cocoa and 30 percent of the ginger flowing from Nigeria to the Netherlands, worth about $20 million annually while noting that the numbers are increasing.
According to Schuiling, Africa’s biggest economy faces the challenge of being a net importer of food. “Importing a considerable amount of agricultural products highlights the need to enhance self-sufficiency and reduce dependence on imports.”
“Low productivity levels and rapid population growth make this an even bigger challenge. However, Nigeria possesses substantial potential to generate revenue from agricultural exports. To expand Nigeria’s export market access for agro commodities, it is crucial to deepen trade relationships, particularly with the EU,” she added.
Michel Deelen, consul-general, Kingdom of the Netherlands added that people can learn a lot from the Dutch strategy especially in the area of seeding and achieve a lot in terms of agricultural produce.
“So I want us to use what they use because the problem in Nigeria has been coordinating the different sectors for greater productivity,” she said.
Ayodeji Balogun, chief executive officer at AFEX revealed that the company plans to open a new trade office in the Netherlands.
Over the last four years, the average of bilateral trade flows between Nigeria and the Netherlands was $6billion annually and agro-commodities trade accounted for the second highest and fastest growing area of trade between both countries.
The main exports products from Nigeria are cocoa, cashew, marine animals/fish, ginger, shea butter, grain, seeds, soybeans and fruits.
Mansoor Raji from the Centre for Promotion of Imports said the Dutch funded program provides services to strengthen the capacity of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises in developing countries like Nigeria to export to European markets.
“Ginger and Shea Butter are among the core products the capacity building program focuses on.”