Agricultural and Rural Management Training Institute (ARMTI), Ilorin has organized a free two-day workshop for major stakeholders and practitioners in agricultural produce exportation sector.
Speaking at the opening of the workshop, themed, “Global Shift in Agricultural Produce Export Procedure Post Pandemic and other International Challenges” in
Abuja, the executive director of the institute, Dr. Olufemi Oladunni, said that the workshop was organized to develop capacity of smallholders in the nation’s agricultural sector to participate in agricultural produce export.
The ARMTI boss, who said that smallholder farmers form the greatest bulk of agro producers in Nigeria, added that having them perpetually operate below optimum capacity is to perpetually limit the potential of Nigeria as a whole.
Oladunni said that if the full benefits of the agriculture sector potential would be reaped, leading to effective diversification of the economy and increased foreign exchange earnings; then the complexities and hurdles involved in the processes and procedures of agriproduce exportation in the nation are needed to be resolved.
The workshop, which focused on identifying the major procedural challenges and the constraints created by the seemingly endless processes facing the players in the exportation chain, also sought practical, workable and sustainable solution to the challenges.
Oladunni said that while some of these challenges stem from the complexities involved in the processes and procedures of agricultural produce export arising from “policy jams”, he added that the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide also changed the dynamics at all levels.
He said that the challenges confronting the stakeholders in the agriproduce export sphere has been compounded by global challenges.
Also speaking, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Ernest Umakhihe, who declared the workshop open, commended ARMTI for its constant proactive roles and for always serving as a key player in the sector.
He challenged government agencies and stakeholders at the workshop to take up the challenge to synergize and collaborate towards overcoming the challenges facing the sector so that Nigeria can take its rightful place in the global scheme of things and farmers can begin to take advantage of the international market for their produce and for wealth creation.
Umakhihe, who noted that agricultural sector remains a major option to diversifying the nation’s economy, said that is why the President Mohammadu Buhari administration is committed to harnessing the potentials of the sector.
However, he said this cannot be achieved if what we are producing as a nation cannot meet international quality and food safety.