Farmers have been advised to embrace the export of locally produced products, to contribute to the foreign coffers of the Nigerian economy.
The Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture, Dr. Olayiwole Onasanya, gave the advice at a 3-day training organised by Lagos State Agro-Processing, Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Support (APPEALS) project for farmers in the state.
He said part of the mandate of the project is to develop the export potential of the beneficiaries and to ensure successful linkage to the international market, noting that the meeting with the certification and regulatory agencies is one of the strategic ways in achieving the feat.
In her address, the Lagos State Coordinator of APPEALS Project, Mrs. Oluranti Sagoe-Oviebo, urged the farmers to work towards standardising the production and processing of aquaculture, rice, and poultry for the export market and high-earned market.
She said the goal of the training tagged: “Meeting of Certification and Regulatory Agencies with APPEALS project beneficiaries,” was to increase the export value of the project’s beneficiaries.
She said: “We are training our farmers on best practices that will ensure that they get certification from relevant agencies and to ensure that they are getting premium prices for whatever they are selling.
“This training is part of the activities to support our beneficiaries. This training will enlighten them in the certification and to understand the regulations so as to increase their export potential.
“A lot of our beneficiaries are encouraging us with the pace at which they are adopting the technologies we have demonstrated to them.
She also revealed that 5,000 farmers had been trained and 720 beneficiaries supported with a grant for technology adoption so far in the three value chains of the APPEALS project, which are rice, aquaculture, and poultry.
Also speaking, the Deputy Director, Export Division of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Dr. Sadiq Yunus, said the training was necessary for a better understanding of export procedures to help cushion the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on farmers.
Yunus said NAFDAC was ready to propel Medium-Small Scale Enterprises (MSMEs) through facilitations at no cost.
Speaking on Standardising Production and Processing of Aquaculture Products for Export Market and High Earned Market, the representative of the Federal Department of Fisheries (FDF), Mrs Olanike Oladosu, said farmers should identify potential customers, meet the standards of the importing country and ensure to achieve competitive pricing.
She also highlighted reasons why farmers should target high-earned market, high-class point of sale and presentation, and product packaging.