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Govt seeks improved access to Nigerian goods in EU markets

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...Affirms feasibility of 2015 rice self-sufficiency target date

TO further aid Nigeria’s value-addition drive and discourage export of raw agricultural goods, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina has urged the European Union (EU) to open its markets for manufactured goods from the country.

Indeed, the Minister noted that the nation’s export potential could be effectively harnessed if the EU stops imposing heavy tariffs on value-added products from the country.

Besides, Adesina noted that Nigeria’s rice self-sufficiency target of 2015 was on course and would be achieved before the stated timeline.

Speaking at the EU-Nigerian Business Forum in Lagos at the weekend, Adesina explained that though it has been difficult for Nigerian exporters to penetrate the EU markets due to standardisation and certification challenges, the administration has been working on strategies to enhance relationship between the country and the EU.

He said: “I believe that Europe needs to open up its market for value added products and also stop imposing heavy tariffs on their value-added products rather than the country exporting raw exports. The potential for foreign earnings if we penetrate the European market is high. We are working on the how to address certifications issue. We are also trying to make sure that our farmers are ready for the synergy and export market.

“Today’s event showed the confidence that Europe has in Nigerian Agribusiness market. We plan to play big in the horticulture market. The market has been difficult to penetrate because of the safety standards. We are working to ensure that we penetrate the market by improving our standards and collaborating with the EU.”

On self-sufficiency in food production, he said: “There is no reason why Nigeria is not self sufficient in many of its food products and our goal is to achieve 20 million metric tonnes of domestic food supply by 2015, to create jobs and of course to create wealth. Government’s role is to provide the enabling environment and critical public goods needed for growth, but private sector must be the engine for the growth.

“Our domestic market is huge; a market of over 167 million people. They don’t drink oil. They eat food. We need to encourage people to buy made-in-Nigeria products. If you go to the supermarkets, you will see many packaged rice, cassava flour that were made in Nigeria, but we need to improve their standards. The local market is huge and we need to cater for that. In the last two years, we have produced 1.8 million metric tonnes of rice paddy and that is more than 50 per cent of the additional rice paddy that we need and with just two years to go, we believe Nigeria’s rice self-sufficiency plan is achievable.

“So, in terms of agriculture, we are focusing on the value chains in which we have comparative advantage. We are unlocking the cassava opportunity by turning Nigeria into the largest cassava producer in the world.”

Chairman of the EU-Nigerian Business Forum, Andre Ronne, described the forum as an exchange platform for Euro and Nigerian business groups, that will create the enabler for viable engagements that will boost good services, quality products and effective operations.

Article Credit: Guardian News Nigeria

Updated 5 Years ago

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