DECEMBER 19, 2017 – Managing Director of ABX World Limited, Captain John Okakpu has said Nigeria can process agricultural produce worth over $350 billion for export through the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in the next 10 years.
Okakpu said facility providers at the airport were already bracing towards the projection, given the measures being put in place
He said the projection was based on agricultural export initiatives put in place by some state governments.
In an interview in Lagos last week, the pilot turned agricultural export promoter, said considering the level of success and acceptance of Nigeria’s agricultural produce exported to Europe in the year, there is ample evidence that in the next 10 years the country could net over $350 billion from such activity.
Citing some state governments, he said last October, the Anambra State Government in partnership with ABX World, exported the first agriculture produce from its revolution project, which started last year, to Europe.
The products, which were exported through the cargo section of Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, included yams, potatoes, pineapples, okro, pumpkin leaves, and bitter-leaf.
Okakpu said huge success was recorded this year in terms of agricultural export which used to be the main stay of Nigeria’s economy.
He explained that Nigeria farmers, particularly those from Anambra, have keyed into the new agricultural revolution going on in Nigeria.
He said: “This year has been very remarkable in terms of agricultural export. Agriculture used to be the main stay of Nigeria’s economy. I thank God for the knowledge we have been able to pass on to the farmers and the awareness we have created. Please I enjoin Nigerians to come with me and let us move to where we belong.”
He added: ”Next year is going to be remarkable. Though there are little issues to be resolved by the government, there are still some agriculture products that are still under ban list by the Federal government. I am happy that the National Assembly is reviewing some of the laws governing exportation of agriculture produce.”
On international acceptability of Nigeria’s produce, Okakpu said: “The market has already accepted our products. What we did early last year was to take it to them for test to see if it is acceptable. Now we have gone through the process of certification of the farmers because everything about food in Europe and any part of the world is safety. Global Gap is the network that controls all the supermarkets in the North America and Europe and once you have their certification, the market is guaranteed.”
He appealed to the Federal Government to assist farmers to obtain single digit interest loans and provide the necessary logistics to make farming attractive to young Nigerians, adding that the nation is yet to tap half of its agricultural potential.