The Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), the country’s non-oil export promotion agency, has promised to continue to assist exporters and potential exporters in the micro, small and medium scale enterprises (MSMEs) sector of the economy, to imbibe high-quality cultures in the production and processing of goods.
Olusegun Awolowo, executive director/chief executive officer, NEPC made this known in his keynote address at a-day capacity building programme on agro-production and processing for MSMEs, held in Owerri, Imo State capital.
Speaking on the theme ‘’strengthening the technological skills of MSMEs’’, which he considered fitting and encapsulating, Awolowo affirmed that MSMEs, are recognised globally, as the engine for growth of modern economies, as it provides employment to a large number of citizens in a given economy, than large enterprises and hence contribute to reducing poverty in a country.
According to him, experiences had shown that there is no nation that ever develops without appreciable inputs from the MSMEs segment of their economy, Nigeria inclusive.
He however noted that technological skills problems/competence and lack of essential and required expertise in production, processing have been identified as challenges facing the MSMEs in the agricultural sub-sector of Nigeria’s economy.
“We all know that the performance of MSMEs as instruments for economic growth, development and poverty reduction among the populace is the topic of interest in this present administration, hence the need for well-planned intervention to raise the technological skills of the SMEs in such a way that those involved in agro production and processing can produce high quality produce for export through the use of affordable and new technologies”.
He explained that the production of products have gone beyond mere assembling, but as a result of education, increased urban population, marketing outlets in shopping malls and the use of the internet (web and social media), the need for good quality assurance, technical skills, efficient packaging and labelling have become more paramount.
“A casual visit to a shopping mall will reveal the impact of branding and packaging”, he stated.
Awolowo, who was represented at the forum, by Anthony Ajuruchi, chief trade promotions officer, NEPC, therefore, enjoined MSMEs to embrace the new ways of production and marketing to make the required impact on both the domestic and export markets.
He stated that capacity building for MSMEs in the agro value chain is perfect action towards increasing the production and processing of high-quality agricultural products in Nigeria, through strengthened technological skills of smallholding operators in the agro sub-sector.
Awolowo appealed to the relevant Government agencies, including Ministries of Agriculture, Commerce and Industry, Women and Youth Development, Technology Incubation Centre (TIC), among others in Into State to assist the MSMEs accordingly in order to sustain the gains of the training.