The Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) has sensitised critical stakeholders in preparation for the proposed training of farmers and other key players in the agricultural value chain, in export business.

The sensitisation programme which held on Thursday in Aba had participants from the South-East geopolitical zone of the country.

The stakeholders were sensitised on the proposed training on identified Good Agricultural Practices gap factors and Good Safety Standards Certification required in export business.

In his keynote address, NEPC’s Executive Director, Mr Olusegun Awolowo, said it was the Export Expansion Programme (EEPC) intervention scheme under the National Economic Sustainability plan of the Federal Government.

He said it was targeted in the non-oil sector to expand the MSMEs and promote export businesses to grow the economy in the face of the economic hardship posed by COVID-19 pandemic.

Awolowo, whose address was read by Mrs Roselyn Ekanem, Head of NEPC, Aba, said the selected programme for the six geo-political zones, was informed by the selection of 10 strategic products to drive the implementation.

He said the farmers and other value chain operators in 20 selected states would be trained in the 10 products to change the export of non-oil products narrative.

The executive director said the products included : cashew, cassava, cocoa, ginger, leather, palm oil, sesame, sheanut/butter, soya beans, spices and tomato.

The resource person, Mr Anthony Ajuluchi, said one of the key interventions of the EEFP was to identify and address capacity gaps in both downstream and upstream sectors of the export value chain.

According to him, the EEPC addresses the gaps through training on best practices and food safety standards for farmers of selected export crops and barriers to trade for MSME processing companies.

Ajuluchi, who is the NEPC Head, Owerri, said there would be certification in key areas for farmers and processing companies to improve their attractiveness to and chances of accessing export markets.

He said the stakeholders would be trained by different research institutions including: Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN), National Horticultural Research Institute (NIHORT) and National Cereal Research Institute (NCRI) and others.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the workshop was attended by officials of NEPC, representatives  of different branches of the Chamber of Commerce and state Ministries of Trade and Investments among others.(NAN)

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