By James Emejo
The Agribusiness Innovation Conference and Expo 2020 (AGRICON 2020) will among other things boost the export potential of Nigerian farmers and agri-preneurs through provision of linkage opportunities with international markets and improved awareness on modern farming techniques, organisers have said.
The Managing Director, Agribusiness Innovation International Limited, Mrs. Stella Oraka, said the event slated to hold between March 19 -20 in Owerri, Imo State, will further sensitise farmers on the export requirements of the United States and Europe for selected commodities, procedures for registering as an exporter as well as steps for obtaining the necessary certificates required for exportation.
She told THISDAY that the programme would host key off-takers from the US, Europe and other African countries who would meet with local farmers and buy their commodities.
She said the conference had been segmented into three categories including general session where participants would learn new researches and innovations that would enhance productivity and export potentials; the marketplace where exporters will meet with off-takers and strike business deals as well as the exhibition sideline where exporters can showcase their commodities.
Also, the Director General, Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS), Dr. Vincent Isegbe, will be speaking alongside US investors including Managing Director, Futures Agribusiness, USA, Jean Tsafack, Managing Director, Terra Global Capital, USA, John Lewis, Guy Fievez (USA) and Managing Director, Agroplus Africa, Debo Abodunrin among several other representatives of stakeholder organisations including the Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Nigeria Customs Service among others.
Also commenting on the exhibition, Project Director of Agribusiness Innovation, Mr. Asotun Victor, said the programme seeks to complement President Buhari’s efforts aimed at improving export revenue earnings non-oil segments particularly agriculture.
He said the conference further seeks to address instances whereby a lot of farmers have their products rejected in international markets largely due to non-adherence to standards.
He explained: “We are addressing all of this. Some farmers do not know how to store properly. Their commodities grow mold before they get to their destination because of high moisture contents and presence of aflatoxins.
“We have experts on storage that will come and talk. Some farmers do not know how to apply pesticides. We are going to be talking about EU standards and regulations to address the presence of pesticides in our commodities which is higher than the acceptable limits in importing countries.”
He said representatives from the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) would also deliver presentations on how youths can participate effectively in agribusiness to boost the country’s potential.