By Emem Idio
YENAGOA – THE federal government has listed cassava and oil palm as the commodities for export promotion in Bayelsa State under the ‘One-State-One-Product, OSOP project of the federal government through the Nigerian Export Promotion Council, NEPC.
The One-State-One-Product project which is an offshoot from the Zero Oil Plan Initiative is a Federal government driven economic arrangement enshrined within the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), to develop and promote 22 choice products where Nigeria has comparative and competitive advantage for export.
The South-South Regional Co-ordinator of Nigerian Export Promotion Council,NEPC, Mr. Joe Itah, who disclosed this in Yenagoa, Wednesday, at a one day Roundtable Stakeholders’ Forum on Cassava and Palm Producers in the Non-Oil Exports sub sector, said there are few other products of interest in the state that could do well in exports including seafoods and rice among others.
Itah said the stakeholders’ forum was to create more awareness on the existence and operations of the OSOP, to engender effective ownership and encourage its implementation.
He commended the Bayelsa State government for establishing a 50-Metric Tonnes starch factory at Ebedebiri in Sagbama Local Government Area, a feat he pointed out calls for massive cassava production as raw materials to feed the factory to produce at full capacity.
His words: “The spate of economic uncertainties around most economies of the world has shown us that it was time to really sit-up, and even more than ever, seek to do things differently to enhance the economy of the nation.
“This is one in the series of developmental engagements lined up by the Council in its effort at diversifying the economic base of the country – to move away from total dependence on crude oil as the country’s mainstay and major source of income.
“Our engagement today could also draw-up a roadmap for upscaled production and productivity of cassava for various end-products and job creation. So, we hope to achieve further strengthening of the cassava and palm produce sub-sector,to the point of creating vital institutions including producers and processors associations made up of strong farmers and marketing linkage groups.”
In his remarks, the Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr. David Alagoa, who described agricultural exports as very attractive particularly with the current exchange rates, said the agricultural potentials and opportunities abound in the State.
He urged farmers in the state to be organised and take advantage of the agricultural potentials in the state and the state airport to kick start exports of agricultural produce and raw materials.