Posted by Sade Williams
Facts have emerged that Nigeria is losing $1billion annually, to non-certification of Agri-produce for export.
Chairman, AviaCargo Roadmap committee, Mr. Ikechi Uko, made this revelation while while presenting a paper on ‘Repositioining Cargo Operations Through Development of Agriculture and Natural Resources in Nigeria’, at the ongoing Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria National Aviation Conference (FNAC) in Abuja.
Uko, who is also the convener, Akwaaba African Travel market, noted with dismay that 80 percent of containers arriving Nigeria return empty due to unstructured export system.
According to him, out of every 10 containers that come into Nigeria laden with imports, only about 1 or 3 leave the country with exports.
He lamented that Nigeria is the largest producer of many Agro-products, yet it loses $1bn annually to non-certification of Agri-produce for export due to lack of organisation.
“In 2021, the five biggest African exporting nations are South Africa, Nigeria, Egypt, Algeria and Morocco. Collectively, that powerful cohort of African shippers generated over half (55.7%) of the continent’s overall exports by value.
“Nigeria is known to be number one in several things like; Economy by GDP, Population, Agricultural Commodities but Nigeria is 5th on the African AviaCargo Export Chart after Kenya, Egypt, South Africa, Ethiopia”, he said
Uko however revealed that the Nigerian Government plans to grow cashew export from $252 million to $500 million in 2023.
The reason for lagging behind in the avicargo export chart is not far-fetched.
He listed non compliance of farmers to internationally and domestically accepted Standards; Lack of Certification; Inability to trace, lack of access to International Markets; Lack of Knowledge on global requirements; Bureaucracy and High cost to be some of the obstacles to seamless export business in Nigeria
Others are preservation and packaging to global standard; poor Logistics; insecurity; Weakness of Supervision! poor Airport Infrastructure and lack of Government support among others.
However, as part of plans to reposition the system, he disclosed that FAAN made a move by setting up an Aviacargo roadmap committee with a view to articulate guidelines that meet international best practice for Public-Private Partnership in developing modern cargo infrastructures and facilities for optimum air-cargo facilitation that meets destination Country’s standard.
While itemising tips for improved AviaCargo export, Uko posited that all agricultural exports from Nigeria must start from a farm, certified by the Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Services or a global GAP registered farm through a secured cargo pathways.
He concluded that since Nigeria is already a leader in most Agricultural produces, it should target improvement in Agricultural practices; invest in solving the huge logistic problems of Agricultural produces; enhance certification of farms and operators in the value chain and insist on traceability of all exportable produce
“It must tackle the mayhem at the export cargo terminals, upgrade packaging of all exports; incentivize the production of high value export crops and mitigate identified procedural and regulatory obstacles.”, he added.