Proper agricultural, post-harvest, and packaging practices are imperative for Farmers, Food processors, aggregators, and exporters to be able to teach through to international markets.
Therefore, Nigerian Stored Products Research Institute(SPRI), Illorin Kwara state, and the Nigerian Export Promotion Council(NEPC) have to train some stakeholders in Cassava, Cocoa, and leafy Vegetables businesses on the requirements of the International markets.
The Southwest zonal training, in partnership Synergy Impact Consultants Ltd, and with the assistance of the Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Services(NAQS), the Federal Produce Inspectorate Services(FPIS), and the Federation of Agricultural Commodities Association of Nigeria, was carried out at the Zonal office of NSPRI in Akoka, Lagos.
The focus of the interactive session during the training was to identify the knowledge gap in exporting Cocoa, Cassava, and Leafy Vegetables in Nigeria, developing an innovative platform for quality engagement among stakeholders; creating the right research theme to boost production and post-harvest handling of chosen crops exports and utilizing useful information from stakeholders for the creation of a Policy brief that will help the government in making Policies.
She also said that the institute has been working with great care and perseverance to keep the quality of Crops to be exported and those to be consumed locally through basic and applied research with the engagement of Stakeholders. Adopting proper agricultural packaging methods for the global market.
Although so many things have changed since the establishment of NSPRI, our responsibility is to see that Agricultural commodity that is exported from Nigeria is of the required standard and has not reduced in any way. The present economic downturn in the country requires diversification of the economy and the need to take necessary proactive actions in positioning Agriculture as a means of foreign earning,” she said.
The Director of Research Operations at NSPRI, Dr. Folorunsho Olayemi, said it was to help stakeholders with the knowledge and requirement for exports, which also will help boost the economy and create jobs for the unemployed.
“This training is to help farmers in Nigeria reach the global markets through farm produce. We have been exporting food and crops from Nigeria, but we have not been doing it the acceptable way lately.
Our products get rejected,” Olayemi said.
On factors resulting to the rejection of products abroad from Nigeria, he said good agricultural methods are not been followed. Poor species of Crops, bad post-harvest handling and infestations, excessive use of agrochemicals for production and storage are major causes of rejection.
Deputy Director, Product Development, NEPC, Mr. Moruff Salami, who was representing the Director-General of NEPC, Mr. Segun Awolowo, said the country is blessed with agricultural resources which should be used to diversify the economy through product development, packaging, and experts.
This would deepen Food production and security, he added.What are the advantages of subsistence farming?
On the expected feedback of the training on agribusiness, farmers, processors, and exporters of Cocoa, Cassava, and Vegetables, Prof. Sanni said: “In southwest Nigeria, Cocoa, Cassava, and Vegetables are major commodities.
And recently, there is the desire for export opportunities.
Some individuals have been making efforts to export their commodities abroad, some have passed, and the majority did not pass.”
He argued that there is the need for the involvement of exporters, farmers, and other stakeholders to tackle the issue of rejection by insulating good and ideal agricultural practices. Adopting proper agricultural packaging methods for the global market.
The major problem with beans is the residues from pesticide, Sanni said, adding: “the amount of Pesticide residues in those beans were too high; they were far above the WHO-approved standards. And the implication is that either at the level of farming, packaging or storage, some are adding too much quantity of those pesticides or insecticides.”
The same is applicable to Yam, he said, “Yam must not be allowed to Sprout. And you have to package it well.
Our neighbouring countries like Ghana are doing it. So, why would Nigeria not be able to do it?”.