The Managing Director/CEO of SAHCO PLC Mr. Basil Agboarumi who spoke at the forum reiterated its commitment to ensure farmers have hitch-free export opportunity in Nigeria through the provision of world-class storage facilities and logistics support for farmers and exporters.
He said, ‘SAHCO PLC has one of the best warehouses in Africa and the best in West Africa. SAHCO has invested so much on equipment. In cargo, we have just commissioned the purchase of new scanning machines. Also, we just acquired state-of-the-art High loader (LAM35) which has the capacity to load and offload up to 40 tons at a go”.
Responding, Captain John Okakpu, MD/CEO ABX World and Agro Allied Solutions said Nigeria has over twelve products that are of export value and the Forum was to look for ways to move the country forward instead of relying on oil, he stressed that Nigeria is blessed with good weather and good soil, unlike some countries that export agro products despite severe weather conditions or bad soil. He said agencies documentation is cumbersome and is causing serious setbacks.
In his words “In US and Europe, the agencies are not as numerous, and the process is not as cumbersome” he stressed that it takes an average of 72 hours to do documentation here in Nigeria after which the produce must have gone bad.
Capt. Okakpu urged the government to investigate the policies to make things easy for exporters of Agro produce. He also advised farmers to do the Coordinates of their farm to make them visible to the world, assuring farmers that very soon farmers will find it easy to export because ABX World and Agro Allied Solutions is in talks with the Government to ensure farmers don’t go through difficulties while trying to export their produce.
On his part, Mr Jide Kafidipe, Head of Cargo Services, SAHCO PLC, said despite the hard work of farmers, it is worth mentioning to note that 75% of agricultural produce goes to waste. He stated that SAHCO has a massive cold storage facility in readiness for taking care of perishable items which will be a good starting point to curb the wastage. The facility is capable of handling 16 to 35 aircraft pallets and SAHCO PLC is also planning to invest in packaging especially of perishable goods.
Kafidipe further stated that one of the reasons farmers are not taking advantage of the export facilities is because of too many bottlenecks caused by too many agencies that seems to be repeating the checks that other agencies have done.
Also speaking during the meeting, the Deputy Comptroller of Customs in SAHCO Export, Abdulhameed Mohammed stated that it might be difficult to do away with so many agencies especially Clean Certificate Inspection,(CCI) among others because Customs examination is based on the investigations of other agencies.
This is because Customs is an enforcer of law and policies and stressed that exporters should know the procedures to avoid rejection of their produce. He highlighted that there are very important Customs’ documentations, in his words, if all these are not addressed, aircrafts will always go back empty from Nigeria.