Post by Ismail AbdulAzeez on Jul 9, 2019 20:56:27 GMT 1
National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said total exports from Nigeria rose to 23.9 per cent year-on-year to N1.7triillion in December last year.
Of this, agricultural goods contributed 108.9 per cent, mostly sesame seeds.
However, there are many difficulties to overcome and reach a higher target this year.
Nigerian agro-exports can increase by 2022 if the export sector capitalises on the opportunity offered across Europe and the United States (US) and if the export sector capitalises on the opportunity opened up by overseas buyers.
This, however, depends on how the government and the private sector empowers farmers and producers meet safety standards.
While there are still issues with quality, the poor ports access roads, Nigerian agro products have not conquered hard markets such as the US, the EU, Japan, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
Attempts to take agricultural exports to Europe and United States are hit by phytosanitary and other Non-Tariff Measures (NTMs).
Least developed countries lose an estimated $23 billion per year, equal to about 10 per cent of their exports to the Group of 20 (G20) through failure to comply with non-tariff measures, according to data published by United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
Non-tariff measures cover a broad range of legitimate and important policy instruments, including measures to protect the health of a country’s citizens and its environments, too. For example, non-tariff measures may limit the use of pesticides in food.
Companies in Nigeria that export food and agric-based products are seriously affected by other NTMs, such as import quotas, special licences, export restrictions, export subsidies, technical barriers to trade, and rules of origin.
NTMs have become a principal impediment to international trade and can prove to be a major obstacle to global trade in goods and services as companies struggle to comply with an increasingly complex web of policies and at times opaque technical standards.
Such measures, are becoming increasingly widespread, especially measures on the cleanliness and pathogen-free status of food.
The European Union (EU) adopted pesticide restrictions that threaten shipments to European nations. Countries within the union also have their standards.
Nigeria faces significant challenges as export of agricultural commodities has been hit on account of quality issues. The economy needs regulatory reform to boost export competitiveness with efficient, low-cost, reliable transport logistics being central to trade.
The government should establish specific agriculture export zones well placed with airports and docks and partner with many countries to boost export of agricultural products to these nations as they need to import the large quantity of food products. With these, there would be increase in the exports of Nigeria’s farming produce globally.
Foreign regulations or private standards are also behind the highest percentage of reported difficulties.
Some burdensome cases include conformity assessments required to show that products comply with national regulations or private standards apply in destination markets.
Such conformity assessments required by trade partners are quite burdensome regulations for exporting companies in the agricultural sector, which is to be expected as agriculture-related products tend to be highly regulated for consumer protection and safety.
When it is not possible to ensure quality requirements before exporting, significant uncertainty on prices and profits are the order of the day because goods are subject to additional checks in destination markets.
Development of the facilities would encourage local farmers to diversify their crops and boost domestic food security.
Meanwhile, growers should adopt the principles of integrated pest management standards for agro-based products to compete against the European Union and other developed countries.