The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh, has disclosed of plans by some investors from United Kingdom (U.K.) to come and train exporters of agricultural produce on the international standard for exporting their produce to forestall rejection.
Ogbeh, who decried the rejection of agricultural produce at the international market as one too many, said the investors would be coming into the country to train exporters on storage, packaging and labelling of their produce in line with international standard.
The Minister, who said this during a press briefing in Abuja, noted that the team would be coming to Nigeria, to discuss export possibilities, saying they are worried that the food market is £30billion, and Nigeria is taking only £15million, they are wondering why Nigeria can’t take at least 10 per cent.
He said: “the investors would be spending like a week in Nigeria, they will sit down with the exporters, tell them how the U.K. authorities want the yam to be produced, and then whoever failed to meet the standard should not blame anybody for rejection.
“But we won’t also want Nigeria to be embarrassed by people who are in a hurry to export things that are below standard. These are serious issues that I alone can’t check; we have to meet standards, it’s about patient and discipline,” he said.
Ogbeh said if Nigeria is able to produce agricultural produce according to international standard, there is nothing stopping it from increasing our export to the U.K., as the country cannot keep waiting for oil and gas.
He maintained that Nigeria would continue to export yam, being the biggest producer in the world it should be biggest exporter.
He said: “while people are talking now, the rest of the world has given us notice that about 10 years from now we won’t be exporting much crude oil. If people want us to wait till then for us to look for what to export the crisis, then it would be worst than what we have now.”
He debunked rumours of exporters cutting corners in exporting yams, blaming the issue about the yam exported to the U.K. on delay in shipment and lack of cold room facility, which are currently being sorted out.