Expresses readiness to build capacity, facilitate process
By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
The Italian Trade Agency, ITA, Monday, wooed Nigerian agric produce exporters following demands of fruits and vegetables in the European market.
This was made made during a media parley at E-Lab Innova training in Nigeria, which was launched by the ITA as part of its commitment to boost trade relationships with Nigeria.
It is also an educational training programme for the agri-food sector in Nigeria, which is being implemented in collaboration with the Nigerian Export Promotion Commission, NEPC, alongside other Italian partners, including MACFRUT, a leading exhibition for the agribusiness industry.
The ITA is a governmental agency that supports the business development, partnerships and collaborations between Italian companies and their local counterparts, which launched the first E-Lab Innova in Nigeria.
The ICE Faculty Trainer, Enrico Turino, said Nigerian produce exporters have opportunities to penetrate the European market with vegetables, gingers, avocados, and others.
Turino said: “Last year China export just few tonnes of ginger to Europe because of COVID-19, the people in China and people in Europe but mainly in China they started to eat ginger because they that feel ginger is very good for the health.
“So for this reason the European market begin to source for new producers because it was not possible for them to source ginger from China so they started to source ginger from Africa but mainly from South America.
“We buy ginger from China but is possible to sell more ginger but we don’t have specif number of tonnes needed for ginger because European importers don’t find enough ginger for their needs.
“For example about two years ago the importers were looking for a specific variety of avocado but now they are open to new varieties.
“For tropical foods ginger is possible to entering into the market right now because the marketers know so everybody can enter if the exporter has the right quality.
“There is the market asking for more fruits and vegetables because the European consumers what everything on the table not only when it is available that is why I give example of the winter time.
“So the ginger market is an open market allow very new one, and for fresh ginger that is well processed.
“Nigeria has land, water, very big financial root, money but I think she need to find the right technology, what are the foods supplied, and she needs to produce it.”
Turino also urged producer exporters to get in touch with importers in Europe in order to have clear information about what they need, type and variety of produce.
“So it is a very interesting one, I only suggest to the producer to visit trade shows where they could talk with importers on what they need in terms of quantity, quality, type, variey needed in the European market.
“If you don’t produce the right variety of fruit or vegetable you cannot enter the market, and it is very important to get this information, in other words this source of information is important for the Nigerian producer, and also to visit supermarkets and wholesale markets, technology producers in Europe, especially Italy. Nigerian farmers should take information from the Innova Gap Certification”, he said.
The Italian Trade Agency Director for West Africa, Dr Alessandro Gerbino, said, “Nigeria remains a strategic point for engagement between the agency and other countries across West Africa.
“The E-Lab Innova holds prospects for Nigerian companies to be imparted on the knowledge and technicalities of their counterparts abroad whilst also paving the way for collaborations between Italian and Nigerian agribusinesses.
“It is a pleasure to see the collaboration between the Italian Trade Agency (ITA) and the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), to develop the capacity of agribusinesses and aid their integration into the value chain of European Union markets.
“We remain committed to supporting the government’s plan to create more jobs through the agro-food industry and ensure that these businesses have the right skill set to grow, sustain their operations and contribute to the growth of Nigeria’s economy.”