The plan to export farm produce to Europe and other international destination has been realised by the Anambra State Government when the first batch of the consignment was airlifted last weekend.
The first export, which was to Europe include tonnes of yams, potatoes, pineapples, bitter leaf, okro and other perishable agriculture produce were airlifted by Ethiopia Airlines cargo flight through the export section of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.
The farm produce valued at millions of Naira were packaged by ABX World, a cargo firm at the airport and conveyed to the airport by trucks owned by the state government designated for the movement of agricultural produce from the state.
Speaking at the Skyways Aviation Handling Company Limited (SAHCOL) export shed, the Managing Director, Anambra State Investment Promotion and Protection Agency (ANSIPPA), Mr. Joe Billy Ekwunife said the initiative was to promote over 4,000 farmers in the state.
He said the state government embarked on the farm produce export to boost the local economy and expose agricultural produce from Anambra into the international market.
“The governor has designated this agency to coordinate all investment coming to Anambra state which is part of what you are seeing today, the export of all the agric produce in collaboration with our partner, ABX world. The products being exported today include but not limited to yams, potatoes, pineapples, okra, ugu, and bitter-leaf. The destination of the produce is Europe; other destinations will be added subsequently.
“I would like to quickly add that to official flag of this particular project that is on-going by the executive governor of Anambra state will take place at the Enugu International Airport on the 31st of October, 2017.”
He said the state government, in collaboration with ABX World, has developed capacity for farmers by providing them with parking houses, conditioning centers to package their farm produce for export in line with global requirements.
“Anambra state, like I said, in collaboration with ABX has developed a lot of cognitive with farmers, developing a lot of parking houses, conditioning centres. And I can tell you that this has employed directly and indirectly over 4000 farmers independently working and whatever they produce is guaranteed to be purchased. So it’s no longer when they produce yams they carry it on their heads going to market because the yam is already guaranteed to be paid. And Anambra state through its Ministry of Agriculture is giving some implements like fertilizers, and other things to help them produce those yams which through the facilitator ABX will lead them right from their farms to the parking houses with air conditioning,” Ekwunife said.
He also assured that sooner or later instead of coming to Lagos the export of the produce would be done “in the heart of Anambra state where the agricultural produce will be packaged the trucks you see behind me that deliver this one today will deliver more. His Excellency is going to deliver three or more trucks because the products and the export will continue to increase.”
Also speaking, Chief Executive Officer, ABX World, Captain John Okakpu said the firm has already secured certification for the produce as it hits the international market.
“The market has already accepted our products. What we did early last was to take it to them for test to see if it is acceptable. So now we have gone through the process of certification of the farmers because everything about food in Europe and any part of the world is about safety. That is what if something goes wrong, how do know where the problem is coming from. Chief Willie Obiano is working with my company ABX world to set up a lot of training of very high standard.”
He said the firm has secured the global gap certification which would enable Anambra farm produce hit super markets in North America and Europe.
“Once you have their certification, the market is guaranteed. And let me put it this way, no matter whatever you produce, as long as you have the certification you can never meet up to five percent of what they need from you.
“So the bottom line is, get yourself certified, get yourself positioned and the market is there for you.
They can give you three-five years contract, you supply they pay you. And in their contract, if you supply they pay, if you don’t supply, you pay them. So, we are into a very serious business,” he said.