Invest In the Pineapple Sector, NEPC Appeals To FG
.. Laments Farmers Loss of Lives, Crops To Herdsmen
-Iduozee Efe Paul
The Benin Export Assistance Officer of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), MacPherson Fred-Ileogben, has raised alarm over the high rate of the killing of farmers by the Fulani herdsmen which is affecting farmers and leading to low productivity of farm produce in the state and Nigeria at large.
Fred-Ileogben, the Head /Trade Promotion advisor, Benin Office, made the statement in Benin City after addressing some clusters in export marketing, educating them on how to take their products to International markets for trade purpose. He said a lot of farmers have lost their resources, lives and families as a result of Herdsmen killing and COVID-19 pandemic.
He complained about fund and some of the external challenges affecting the farmers who produce the products in the farm, stressing, “Within the limited funds we have, we will need to work to bring change to the agency.”
“The external challenges are farmers who produce in the farm. We have insecurity as threat to our exporters; the killing of farmers by the Fulani herdsmen and consumption of their products and the Covid-19 pandemic. It affects the supply chains of market and the raw materials the farmers and exporters need to process their farm produces,” he stated.
Moving ahead beyond COVID-19, he said focus is on developing the pineapple sector and called on the federal government to lend support.
“The whole world has been affected by the COVID-19 crisis. We are now talking about Post Covid-19 era. What we are trying to do now is to develop the pineapple sector. Pineapple products are in high demand in the International trade market. Ghana and Ivory Coast are investing in that sector.
“Nigeria is still struggling. I appeal to the federal government to encourage farmers by providing grow seeds for the farmers. Edo State is the largest producer of pineapple in Nigeria. What we are doing since we identified the market is to organize capacity building training programmes for farmers and exporters in Edo State.
“We are working on the global gap. Global gap is a process which enhances the acceptability of food products in international markets. We are training the farmers on the growing of fruits and vegetables. We are working with the farmers to ensure more of the farmers are certified to do the business, “the export advisor further explained.
“We want to train farmers on the effective production of pineapple for export global markets. And to see how the governments can help farmers for the planting materials for export purpose,” Fred-Ileogben said.
Speaking on the functionality of the agency, Fred-Ileogben, said the Nigerian Export Promotion Council NEPC, is the highest institution saddled with the duty to promote, develop and diversify export in Nigeria.
He said:” NEPC is the highest body that has the duty to promote, develop and diversify export in Nigeria. Anything that has to do with export in the country is under the agency.
“We coordinate, harmonize and export advancement activities, and also collaborate with International trade agencies for the cooperation and capacity of Nigerians, so that we can take advantage of the local and foreign markets.”
Commenting on the commission’s achievements in Edo State, Fred-Ileogben, stated, “Since I took over the leadership five years ago, I have provided leadership in terms of human capacity building programmes and the operational directive.
“Export industry is large; in making progress, you must have the right information, and take the right steps at the right time. We are to provide vital trade related facts to exporters, micro business enterprises, medium scale businesses and small scale businesses”.
“We are looking at the process of how the producers can move their goods, products and services to another country. Export is all about selling your products outside the nation, and earning foreign currency,” he explained