By Chinedu Eze
The ABX World in partnership with the Skyway Aviation Handling Company Plc (SAHCO) has disclosed plan to create a logistics initiative to bring down the cost of delivering Nigeria’s fresh agro products’ exports to various European and other global markets.
The initiative seeks to ramp up Nigeria’s exports to 292000 tonnes per annum (800 tons per day).
The two companies disclosed this at the weekend, during a strategic meeting with agro-exporters, farmers and Flour Mills Nigeria Plc, held in Lagos.
The move, according to the organisations, was in response to the challenges faced by Nigerian exporters, which have diminished their competitiveness in the international market while forcing agro products to rot away between farm gates and the market places.
Lamenting the bottlenecks created by government agencies, which have imperilled the agro export business while lots of efforts to bring a change have not yielded results, the organisations resolved to move ahead with their own solutions.
Speaking at the meeting, the Managing Director of ABX World, Captain John Okakpu said, “We have decided to take a different turn on how to reduce the logistic cost, and we have an alternative solution, while waiting for the government, that will at least take us off the ground.
“Our people are suffering and we really need to engage the government to review some of the policies with regards to export. So the logistics cost we have now is quite reasonable and I believe within the next two months it is going to explode and it is going to get better and I am going to assure you that we are here to stay.
“Our ultimate goal is to do about 600 to 800 tonnes every day. The facilities and the structures in place are the reasons we are here today like the operation manager of SAHCO said, they have a cold room completed for more than two years ago and has not been used. So, the issue of damage or products not being fresh, SAHCO has resolved that.”
He said the reasons why his company chose to work with SAHCO was because it was ready to invest in the structures and infrastructures needed in the industry.
Commenting on the readiness of SAHCO, its Managing Director, Basil Agboarumi, said that the company foresaw the need for adequate facilities to ensure preservation of agro-products for export.
To this end, he said that SAHCO had in the last five years invested millions of naira in building modern facilities, which are now ready for execution of the export projects.
“Recently we made an investment in buying a modern scanning machine which I just signed yesterday for the machines to come in. So talking about being prepared, I can tell you that we have been prepared for long and just waiting for a day like this to come. That is why as a company we are happy to be partnering with ABX World to drive this vision,” Agboarumi said.