Nigeria loses $1b to non-certification of agro produce for export

It is an irony of some sort that while Nigeria is the largest producer of many Agro-products, it loses $1bn annually to non-certification of Agric produce for export according to the coordinator of Aviacargo Roadmap Committee, Mr. Ikechi Uko.

Uko in his presentation entitled, “Repositioning cargo operations through the development of agriculture and natural resources in Nigeria”, at the ongoing FAAN National Aviation Conference (FNAC) in Abuja disclosed that in 2021, the five biggest African exporting nations were South Africa, Nigeria, Egypt, Algeria, and Morocco.

He noted that collectively, that powerful cohort of African shippers¢ generated over half (55.7%) of the continent’s overall exports by value.

He however lamented that 80% of containers arriving in Nigeria return empty, stressing further that out of every ten containers that come into Nigeria laden¢ with imports, only about one or three leave the country with exports.

READ ALSO:  Fire razes Owerri airport twice in one year

“Nigeria is the largest producer of many Agro-products, yet it loses $1bn annually to non-certification of Agric produce for export,” he lamented.

Delving further, using Airport Council International (ACI) 2021 report, Uko liste Nairobi airport as the top in cargo with 363,204 tonnes of cargo; Cairo International Airport (333, 536 tonnes); Oliver Reginald Int’l Airport, South Africa (304,018 tonnes); Addis Ababa Bole Int’l Airport, Ethiopia (226,417) and the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos with 204,649 tonnes of cargo.

Not a few had expressed concerns over the consistent empty cargo aircraft departing the country despite huge agro produce all over Nigeria.

They say despite the available cargo aircraft to move farm produce to other parts of the world, as well as trucks and equipment provided by logistics firms to move cargo locally, these products still lay waste in various states because there is a lack of markets and information.

READ ALSO:  In UK, nahco aviance Bags Global Risk Award

A cargo expert who spoke to Aviation Metric on condition of anonymity said, “Chinese people want to eat our bananas, plantain, and pineapples. We have one of the most nutritious fruits in the world but demand and supply are not meeting at the moment.”

He explained that there are cargo planes and passenger bellies that go out of Nigeria empty but there are also rotten fruits in the farm, showing a huge gap to be addressed.

Nigerian Government plans to grow cashew export from $252 million to $500 million for 2023 but non-compliance of farmers to Internationally and domestically accepted standards,  lack of certification¢  inability to trace (traceability),  lack of access to international markets,  lack of knowledge on global requirements,  bureaucracy (too many govt. agencies) and high cost may make nonsense of the huge investment.

Handing tips for improved aviacargo export, Uko averred that all agricultural exports from Nigeria must start from a farm certified by the Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Services (NAQS) or a global GAP registered farm through a secured cargo pathway.

READ ALSO:  SAHCO Plc inks deal to handle operations at new Bayelsa airport

He further stated that Nigeria was already a leader in most agricultural produces, noting that it should target improvement in agricultural practices; invest in solving the huge logistic problems of agricultural produces.

Yadudu and Uko

Uko called for enhanced certification of farms and operators in the¢ value chain, adding them to insist on the traceability of all exportable produce and tackle the mayhem at the export cargo terminals.

He called for the upgraded packaging of all exports, incentivise the production of high-value export crops, and mitigates identified procedural and regulatory obstacles.

Wole Shadare