George Okoh in Makurdi
Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC) said it’s targeting $5 billion of $100 billion annually at the global market from soybeans.
NEPC Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Olusegun Awolowo, disclosed this at the weekend during the Implementation of Soya Beans Value under the One-State-One-Product Initiative of the Zero Oil Plan and presentation of Threshing Machines/Equipment for farmers’ cooperative groups held in Makurdi, Benue State capital.
Awolowo, who was represented by Deputy Director, Policy and Strategy, Mr. Akintunde Folorunso, stressed the need to explore the inherent potentials presented by the Zero Oil Plan for export market.
According to him, the Zero Oil Plan was in line with the Federal Government Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), a strategy for achieving sustainable growth and economic recovery in the short-term with structural reforms at diversifying the economy over the medium to long term.
“The Zero Oil Plan is therefore, captured in the ERGP document as a new direction for Nigeria to build an economy that does not depend on foreign exchange from crude oil for improved public finances,” Awolowo said.
He explained that the strategic component of the Zero Oil Plan was the One-State-One-Product Initiative whereby each state chose a product and an alternate one in which it has comparative and competitive advantage in cultivation, production and processing, adding that this was to ensure that the states and grassroots are linked with the national export value chain in order to facilitate Nigeria’s economic growth through jobs creation and families ‘empowerment.
“We have created huge potentials to provide support for stakeholders in the sub-sector. Having built the capacity for farmers and processors on modern cultivation techniques for increased production and yields and good agricultural practices in the post-harvest handling of soya beans, NEPC is taking on more steps to provide equipment for farmers for increased production and productivity, ensure ease of processing with minimal labour and for having wholesome products for the export market,” NEPC boss said.
Trade Adviser, NEPC Benue State, Annaibem Eggon, who was represented by the Principal Trade Promotion Officer, Mrs. Diana Angou, said the state accounted for over 65 per cent of the nation’s output in soya beans.
She also noted that soya beans production holds the greatest potential for the nation’s economic growth, regretting that lack of knowledge in production of the crop, poor pre-harvesting method, and access to finances inhibits quality improvement in Soya bean production in the state.
“I therefore, call on government, business associations to collaborate with the NEPC to bridge the gap in export market of soya beans,” Eggon appealed.