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States, NEPC to develop World Bank-assisted commercial agriculture

By on March 24, 2011

EFFORTS to achieve food sufficiency and stimulate export of agricultural products may have been enhanced as the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), yesterday, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with five states, under the World Bank-Nigeria assisted Commercial Agriculture Development Project (CADP).

The participating states are Lagos, Cross River, Enugu, Kano and Kaduna.

The Executive Director of NEPC, David I. Adulugba, stressed that his agency would pursue the successful execution of the pact through the organisation and implementation of tailored and targeted capacity building programmes, domestic and foreign market intelligence studies, select study tours, one-on-one mentoring, market linkages and advisory services.

“In addition, requisite and product specific training programmes will be developed and conducted taking into cognizance the particular and specific needs of farmers and operators in each of the value chains,” he said.

He listed some of the key areas the council would be involved in to include organisation of capacity building on export procedures and documentation; handholding selected export-ready companies to export; organisation of study tours for their value chain; and carry out any other activities that secure export markets for their value chains.

According to him, “this initiative is specifically relevant to farmers, processors and the Nigerian economy in general. It has the capability of providing jobs, income opportunities, and strengthening national efforts towards the achievement of Federal Government’s policy objective on food security and Millennium Development Goals. Moreover, it will contribute significantly to meeting national food needs and strengthening trade linkages with other countries.”

He added: “In recognition of the fact that market access is critical in this initiative, and the fact that issues of hazards analysis critical control point and sanitary and phyto-sanitary standards are key prerequisites for achieving success, efforts will be made to advise and guide on adoption of standards operating procedures, good manufacturing practices and use of acceptable technologies in production, processing, quality management, packaging, labeling, certification and marketing.

“This will ensure that finished products of the value chains selected for this project achieve tremendous success in the foreign market.”

National Project Coordinator CADP, Dr. Aminu Babandi, explained that the project has been structured in such way that each participating state will be targeted with support activities and expertise fashioned to enhance the capability and competence of farmers, processors and marketers and to achieve global competitiveness in selected value chains.

The MoU is expected to address issues of critical concern as capacity building, mentoring, market access and market linkages.

Source : Guardian