ABX World in collaboration with a United Kingdom based company Best Produce International Limited, has announced plans to hold Global Good Agricultural Practice (G.A.P) certification process training in Nigeria.G.A.P, is the worldwide standard that assures agricultural produce gain entrance to international markets, especially the United Kingdom and EU and North America.
Managing director and chief executive officer, ABX World, Captain John Okakpu who revealed this today lamented the country’s zero structure for agro-allied business.
Captain Okakpu, who is currently behind the huge exportation of agricultural products to foreign countries from Nigeria, said that acquiring the global GAP certification would open the doors of exportation of agricultural products, adding that the training has about 60 spaces for potential attendees.
According to him, if Nigeria eventually diversifies the economy and look beyond oil revenue for sustenance, the agricultural sector will become the game changer stating that the most important thing the Federal and State Governments should do is empower farmers through training.
He said that presently, Kenya is leading in the Global GAP network; which involves all the supermarkets in Europe and North America, “but no Federal Government, state, local government nor community in Nigeria has Global G.A.P certification, which is one of the reasons we can’t even sell our agro-allied produce directly to Shoprite. How do we put our products to the world?
“Kenya is leading the African continent as it has 1,879, certifications; South Africa has 1,797; Egypt has 671, Cote De ’Voire- 355, Burkina Faso- 146, Ghana has over 124 certifications, while Nigeria is zero! It’s sad. So, I thought of how to make a difference, change the face of agro-allied business in Nigeria.
“Agriculture is private sector driven. What is expected of the government is policy direction and structures in place to empower subsistence farmers, not commercial farmers only. I have a road map that can change the system and strongly believe it can create about 50 million jobs in this country.”
Speaking on the benefits of the certification process, Captain Okakpu said that ABX work is working assiduously with Best Produce and Global G.A.P as Licensed Farm Assurers to ensure local farmers in Nigeria are linked to their counterparts across the globe and be empowered to sell agro-allied produces to brand owners like Shoprite.
He said that the training will hold in Lagos between 16th and 18th of August, 2016 hence, “The most interesting part is for local farmers to be equipped in line with contemporary systems in the production and marketing of safe food to provide reassurance for consumers. Global G.A.P lays the foundation for the protection of scarce resources by the implementation of Good Agricultural Practices with a promise for a sustainable future”.
“If Nigeria eventually diversifies the economy and look beyond oil revenue for sustenance, the agricultural sector will become the game changer. The most important thing the Federal and State Governments should do for the farmers is to empower them through training. Often times, we focus on finance and forget that finance without adequate facilities will not yield positive results.
Already, Okakpu said they are already partnering communities into going into production of world-class food produce that can meet up with international standards.
According to him, already his firm was promoting training with farmers and players in the supply chain and logistic business, on how to package Nigerian farm produce to scale through export standards prescribed by the European Union and other institutions.
Thus, ABX World Nigeria in collaboration with Arik Air and Skyway Aviation Grand Handling Company (SAHCOL), as cargo airline and process handling company, are strategically repositioning Nigeria’s agro-allied produce exports to markets across Europe and the rest of the world.
Okakpu noted that the revolutionary approach would not only leapfrog the agricultural sector in the country, but also boost the supply chain which involves transportation, logistics, aviation, packaging of such agricultural products for exportation, which will in turn create jobs for unemployed youths.
He said they plan to generate over 50,000 tons of agricultural produce annually for export, while targeting produce such as pumpkin leaves, fresh ginger and garlic, white and red sweet potatoes and bitter leaves, amongst others, and bring in the off-takers to take agricultural products as long as they meet the international standard and requirements.
Okakpu said promotion of agricultural produce has become imperative in the face of slump in the price of crude oil in the international market, declaring that current global realities have made it imperative for government to be more creative in exploring other sources of revenues rather than depending on crude oil.
He said, “Nigeria is a mono-economy country, depending on only crude oil to run its budgets. We need to wake up now that oil price has fallen to low index. This is the time to diversify the economy and invest heavily in agriculture and agro-allied products.
“To focus on agriculture, you need huge number of well-trained farmers, who will in turn form co-operative societies. You also need the supply chain that will get the products to their destinations, as well as warehouses, storage and packaging facilities.
Nigerians should suffer in the midst of plenty, especially as 70 per cent of all exportable farm produce comes from Northern Nigeria.