Saturday, April 27, 2019 6:05 pm
An Agricultural Consultant, Akintunde Sawyerr, on Saturday lamented that sub-standard chemicals, inputs and poor handling practices constituted hindrances to the development of the vegetable export value chain.
Sawyerr told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that these hindrances and many others must be removed to enable farmers maximise their export potential.
He stated that double taxation, sorting and grading, lack of transportation infrastructure, among others, militated against sustainable vegetable export.
“The bottlenecks include inadequate standardisation of inputs used; limited standardisation of crop protection chemicals, in terms of the chemicals or amounts used and sloppy data logging of processes.
“Others are insufficient standardisation of production processes; poor sorting, grading and packing infrastructure; poor produce handling; poor transport infrastructure; multiple taxation; inefficiency and poor policy implementation at the ports.
“We also have to contend with poor practices and sharp practices by terminal managers and other agents or agencies.
”Above all, the focus on imported consumer products, leads to massive discrimination against vegetable exports,” he said.
Sawyerr, who is also the Founder of the Agricultural Fresh Produce Growers and Exporters Association of Nigeria (AFGEAN) added that these bottlenecks were sufficient to stall any sustainable vegetable export.
He regretted that the country lacked adequate data and that this contributed to low volume of vegetable exports.
According to him, Nigerians abroad consume Nigerian vegetables, which they buy from ethnic markets, but not supermarkets as is the case with produce from Kenya, Ethiopia, Ghana Senegal and Morocco.
He urged vegetable farmers to seize the huge global demand in trade worth billions of dollars and euros.
Sawyerr also urged vegetable farmers to consider export, and to employ the right processes for optimum return on investments.
“The processes are simple: Identify a buyer abroad, agree specification and production methods, provide buyers with samples for testing and meet receiving and exporting country specifications and regulations for import and export.
“You must also successfully deliver to the airport and load using internationally approved packaging and then ship or fly, usually by air for vegetables; deliver to the right specification, on time every time and quantity on a consistent basis to the customer,” he said.