Despite its global leadership position in the production of yam and cassava tubers, shea nuts cocoayam, Sorghum melon seed, kola nut and other agricultural produce, Nigeria is not listed in the world Export market.
Disclosing this recently in Ibadan, Dr. Obiora Madu, Managing Director of Muiltimix, said this is because Nigeria is not recognized as an exporting country of any particular product.
Madu who presented a paper at a one day Inter-Agency stakeholders' workshop on Non-Oil shipping trade capacity in the South West said that Nigeria currently lack conditioning centers as the cold chain in exporting certain perishable goods are not available.
Nigeria as at 2016 occupied the first position in the production of yam, with 38million metric tons, cassava with 54million metric tons, Sorghum with 6.9million metric tons, Cocoayam with 3.4 metric tons Melon with 514,000 metric tons, Shea nut 330,000 metric tons and Kola nut with 138,000, metric tons
He said that the credibility problem of Nigeria has also affected exports from the country as most exporters now take their products to Ghana for onward export to other countries of the world.
Madu, an Adjunct Professor, also said that most of the yams and other agricultural products purportedly exported by Ghana are actually from Nigeria.
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He however refused the mention the name of any Nigerian exporter that passes through Ghana to export their cargoes stating, "Even if I know, I will not tell you".
He also disclosed that even when government came up with an unfriendly foreign exchange policy, most Nigerian exporters opened domiciliary accounts in some of these neighbouring countries.
Madu stated: "Because of the national credibility that we have, people will not believe that we can do things right, so for that reason people are moving their goods to Ghana including yams, shea nut and shea butter.
"When they came up with the obnoxious foreign exchange policy, Nigerian exporters opened domiciliary accounts in Ghana, Togo and Benin Republic.
"They illegally move the goods out, they sell, pick up their foreign exchange from there, cross the border and come and sell at the black market.
"You see, there is need for a comprehensive, a holistic approach to grow the export industry.
"The African Growth and Opportunity Act, AGOA is almost thirty years old 6,500 items that can go the United States duty free, quota free, and we have not been able to take that opportunity.
"Virtually all African countries are benefitting from AGOA.
Like I said at the workshop, Nigerian cocoa seed is better than that of Ghana and Cote D' Voire.
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"Ghana is producing 800,000 metric tons, Cote D'Voire is doing 1.4million metric tons per annum but Nigeria is doing like 300,000 metric tons.
Meanwhile, a Nigerian assisted Cote D'Voire to grow their Cocoa industry .
"Africa is producing cocoa but the chocolate producers are dictating the prices
Adding value to the cocoa beans will make the farmer richer."
Madu further disclosed that Nigeria currently produces about 60% percent of the world shea nuts .
He suggested that the agriculture policies needs to revisited and reviewed adding that scrapping the Produce Boards spelt doom for the agricultural industry.
According to him, "From available statistics, only few countries of the world can match Nigeria's endowment in the area of natural resources with an estimated population of over 180 million people, an onshore and offshore that boast of some of the finest deposits of oil and natural gas, a rainforest belt that offers the best cash crops and hard wood and a savannah region with very large tones of oil seeds, coffee, chilies, spices and abundant solid mineral resources. In fact, the opportunities, which Nigeria offers investors in the field of non-oil, export are immense and irresistible.
He told Vanguard Maritime Report most of the current export statistics were gotten from the Food and Agriculture Organization FAO, of the United Nations adding that the National Bureau of Statistics does not capture the volumes of exports that leave the country annually.
Confirming the patronage of Ghana as an export route by Nigerian exporters, the Director General of the Association of Nigerian Exporters, Mr. Joseph Idiong told Vanguard Maritime Report that the practice was not new as it has been on for sometime.
Meanwhile, as part of its strategic plans to drive up export from Nigeria, the Federal Government has concluded plans to Establish an 'Export Trading Company' of Nigeria with a view to expanding export transactions and export trade.
In its 2016 latest annual report, the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Export Process Council, NEPC, Mr. Segun Awolowo said that a Special Purpose Entity for Transformational Export Project (S.T.E.P) strategic implementation plan has been put in to Prioritize commodities in each State according to regional competitive advantages and agree on national production targets for key products for Nigeria (needed to meet the export diversification objectives)
Other strategic plans includes establishment of large scale export aggregators along major transport and gathering routes in Nigeria, establish an ensure compliance of existing laws (such as Section 9a of NEPC Act) to fund export development activities and set up export Implementation Unit at the State to be tied into a common Federal Export Initiative as well as creating export desks in target markets to deepen commercial diplomacy of Nigeria and market access
"We at the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) have realized the need to develop a new strategy for the future survival of the Country. Nigeria cannot afford to build its economy solely on finite product oil, which prices are beyond its control.
'Though Nigeria's crude oil reserves are expected to last another 40 years, all indications are that oil prices will continue to crash and with the emergence of alternative energy sources and increasing focus on electric cars, oil will seize to play a prominent role in the international market.
"In this regard therefore, the Nigerian Export Promotion Council has taken the bold initiatives of mapping out a "Zero-Oil Plan" as a strategy which will focus on export as a primary driver of the economy.