With government seeking to improve its earnings from the non-oil sector, stakeholders in the sector have suggested enhanced capacity building for exporters and revival of commodity boards to address quality challenges limiting the growth of the sector.
According to the stakeholders, there is also a need to revive incentives for the non-oil sector as part of measures to drive export, adding that quality challenges and losses recorded by farmers could be minimised if the government could buy the excess farm produce from farmers through Commodity Boards to stabilise prices and also avoid losses due to the absence of storage facilities to store harvest products.
Indeed, the non-oil sector which showed remarkable growth from $1 billion in 2006 to about $3 billion in 2013 in foreign exchange had equally experienced a decline from 10 per cent in 2014 to 20 per cent in 2015.
Director/Zonal Controller, Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), George Enyiekpon while speaking at a forum tagged, “Stemming the quality challenges in non-oil export”, stated that the move is to renew focus on finding problems to issues affecting non-oil export.
Enyiekpon noted that the call for revival of incentives in the non-oil export is to further aid competitiveness of goods, adding that efforts are geared at boosting other non-oil exports apart from agricultural products.
Lead Presenter and Managing Director, Multimix Academy, Dr Obiora Madu, stressed the need for improved transparency in the regulatory process, adding that compliance by value-chain operators should be enforced while defaulters should be made to face the liabilities.
“There is need for a new inter-agency strategy as well as a re-assessment of the system of regulation. Ensuring domestic food safety and agricultural health controls promote export market requirements. These are some of the issues hindering Nigeria from improving its earnings from non-oil export.
“On poor earnings, stakeholders should note that value placed on agricultural products is a function of the quality of the product. There has been a steady decline in revenue and foreign exchange earnings due to the poor quality of products being exported. Government, needs to coordinate and integrate food control policies to avoid dissenting voices that confuse value-chain operators”, he added.
Executive Director, Nigerian Stored Product Research Institute, Prof. Olufemi Peters urged stakeholders to address issues of post-harvest handling in a bid to reduce heavy metals in products while improving access to market information.
Chairman, Manufacturers of Nigeria Export Group (MANEG), Tunde Oyelola urged government to address challenges in the value-chain adding the problem with product quality borders more on the middlemen who buy the products from farmers and use heavy chemicals for preservation.