ANAMBRA State government and ABX World, a Nigerian based courier/cargo company, in collaboration with Arik Air and Skyway Aviation Handling Company, SAHCOL, have commenced export of agro-allied produce to European countries. The export is valued at over $5.2 billion annually. ABX World is an EU certified, EUC, cargo agent, and Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, ‘Authorised Cargo Agent.’
Afam Mbanefo, Anambra State Commissioner for Africa, said the state government’s priority for agricultural development was to eliminate poverty, enhance job creation and improve the internally generated revenue, IGR, of the state. Mbanefo said the objective of Governor Willie Obiano’s administration is to make the state economically independent, buoyant and reduce excess dependence on the federal government.
“As a people-oriented administration, Governor Obiano has always sought for ways to create security, create good road network, create night life; these are things that will get people involved, bring in investors and promote tourism. Now, the agro-allied export is another testament to the state government’s unrelenting efforts to ensure Anambra State farmers do not lack market to sell their products.
“It is very imperative to note that before commencing the exports, the farmers through their cooperative societies received training and certification. In other words, we are confident that these produce like pumpkin leaf (Ugu), and others will meet the market standard. As a government we are happy about this new development which we are thankful to other facilitators like ABX World,” he said.
Confirming this to newsmen in Lagos, John Okakpu, managing director, ABX World, said that the gesture was capable of generating jobs, eliminating poverty and restoring investors’ confidence in the state. He added that Anambra State has become a trailblazer in the regard, as, “different state governments in realisation of the dwindling oil revenue are now interested in the agro-allied exports, but Anambra State is leading the way through her serious commitment to agriculture in the state.”
Okakpu explained that the state is far ahead of other states in Nigeria in area of grassroots structure and technology deployment to aid farmers. He said: “When we entered into agreement with them, we discovered that they have gone very far. For instance, the State has over 1400 co-operative societies and they have gone to the extent of training most of the farmers and also the certification of the societies. The next step was the geo-mapping of the area for easy identification of the farmlands from any part of the world. This is a sure step to curb the incessant rejection of agro-allied produce from Nigeria at the European and the rest of the world markets.
“The EU certified trainers were in Nigeria about three months ago. So, after that training and certification programme, the participants are guaranteed of three years contract to supply agro-allied produce to Europe and can use it for the rest part of the world. This is the real capacity building we are talking about. There is no other better way to fight poverty and encourage farmers than to provide markets for them.”
According to Okakpu, his company is working with other partners, including Arik Air and SAHCOL to ensure that about 75 farm produce of which Ugu- pumpkin leaf tops the list, are exported from Nigeria to Europe and the rest of the world. He expressed optimism that the project would create millions of jobs in the country as more States queue-in into it.
He said that ABX World would use its partnerships around the world to make a difference, create agricultural revolution whereby we bring in the off-takers to take agricultural products as long as they meet the international standard and requirements.
Culled from ThisDay
— Feb 29, 2016 @ 01:00 GMT