Stakeholders in the Nigeria Non-Oil sector have harped on the need for improved standardS and regulation of Non-Oil produce to boost exports and raise foreign exchange earnings.
Speaking at a webinar organised by the PDF Bridge Program, Vincent Isegbe, Director General, National Agriculture Quarantine Service noted that Nigeria which is among the top producers of agriculture goods has faced series of set back in exporting its Non-Oil produce as they are often below international standard.
He said, “It is time we begin to complain less and start doing what is right. We encourage our local producers to ensure that produce are fit for both local consumption and export”.
He stressed on the need for adequate preparation before export, adding that there is need for collaboration among stakeholders to regulate production processes and ensure that produce meet international standard.
“Anyone farmer producing for export should engage NAQS from time of planting to harvest. Each value chain must Play their role to ensure self regulation and ease the passage and acceptance of local commodities”.
Olumuyiwa Alaba, PDF-Bridge Trade policy Expert said that although diversification has been of recurring urgency in the agenda of successive administration in Nigeria, efforts towards achieving a sustainable diversified economy has not yielded the desired result.
He stressed that promoting market access for Non-Oil exports is the more sustainable way to get the desired diversified economy.
“The bridge is putting dialogue in place to stimulate action to stimulate diversification beyond talks”.
” Market Access remains a major hurdle that MSMEs in export must cross. Nigeria has recorded positive trade balance over the past one decade but it is sad to note that this position is largely driven by oil exports “.
“Nigeria was the 6th largest exporter of ginger worldwide in 2018, we produce about 523,000 metric of ginger annually, we have a market for leather, textile and garment, spices and many other produce. We need to look away from oil export and build up the Non-Oil sector for exports”.
Speaking further, Alaba called on stakeholders on the need to address the identified challenges which has impeded the successful exportation of Non-Oil produce.
He said “The identifies challenges that has impeded the Non-Oil export include; poor logistics, over bearing cost incurred by exporters, before and beyond the border challenge and lack of trade related infrastructure”.
“There is an urgent need to dismantle these barriers, facilitate a conducive environment to attract private sector investment and exploit the opportunities in the Non-Oil sector “.
Evelyn Obidike, Director, Strategy and Policy, Nigeria Export Promotion Council, said that as part of effort to leverage on the opportunities in the Non-Oil sector, the council recently launched the Zero-oil plan to boost local production and prepare them for export.
She said that the plan is a nationwide plan that seek to deepen collaboration among states to build resilience in the domestic market.
Nneji Emmanuel, of the NICERT group, stressed on the need to develop an improved standard for local production.
He said”It has almost become a norm that our local produce are below international standards, there is need for us to raise up our standard of production”.
“Our textile materials losses over 30 percent value when compared with international market standard. It is time we begin to to produce what is safe for both the domestic and international market”.