Exporters in the country have called on the Nigerians Export Promotion Council (NEPC), to assist farmers and exporters to advocate and push for legislative laws to bar foreigners from encroaching farmlands across the country.
In separate interviews with some exporters, they commended NEPC for the various trainings been organised for exporters, which they testified that it have impacted on them positively and on their businesses.
They are quick to say that the trainings are not enough, but must support them with adequate regulations to make them remain in business and not allow foreigners who are entering farms to buy directly from farmers because they have the money to chase them out of business.
Shakin Agbayewa, a produce merchant and the Deputy Chairman All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Lagos state chapter, said that the foreigners are all over the farms in the villages to buy produce directly from the farmers, an act that can never be allowed in their country.
”I am supposed to export cassava, but the foreigners are already here to buy the cassava from my people, so what will I take out; how do I survive, this is killing our export business.
“As I speak to you today, these foreigners that comes to this country determine our price, they determine how we regulate the price, how we farm and produce in our country, what we cannot do in their country.
“We want the government to stop this because in foreign country we cannot do it there, they are regulating our market as against our wish,” he added.
Agbayewa further stated that he needs the NEPC to advocate for the exporters and farmers by meeting relevant government ministry and the National Assembly to protect farmers and exporters from been chased out of business in their own land.
“There is a Chinese company in Oyo state that does garri. Their prices are far cheaper than what we have here, because in their country here, they got low interest rates on loan and that loan could run for like 30 years with moratorium of like seven years, they have the wherewithal to chase our farmers with price.
“NEPC should come to our aid, they should do more than training, but advocate for us; they should advocate for laws that will protect us and not allow these foreigners to enter our farms again,” he added.
Ajakaiye Olukayode, Managing Director of Malvis Nigeria Limited, a charcoal exporter also said that NEPC should do something to assist exporters from been chased out of business.
He said the Council should come up with regulations that will stop these people from chasing exporters and farmers out of business.
“These people have money from their own country, their country’s government assists them, their banks assist them and gave them money, they will just come to the farm and buy directly from the farmers and they will even be regulating the farm produce prices.
“In my own area, these foreigners will buy over those we are using to produce charcoal, then those people will now be producing for them and they will be controlling the prices because they have money to invest into the business.
“If you are not on your feet they will chase you out of business. Our government knows this, and they are not doing anything, and that is why we are calling on our government and the NEPC to assist us, because they should not just invite us for training, they should assist the farmers, the exporters, they should make a law. What we cannot do in the foreign land they should not allow the foreigners to do it here.
“That is why they are there; if they want us to be in business there should be regulation that will bar these foreigner from doing what we can do here. They should not compete with us, but should be buying from us. I know they don’t have total capacity to do it, but they can write to the National Assembly to look into it and formulate laws that will guide the local farmers and exporters,” he added.