Sunday Edet-Akpan, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, says Federal Government’s efforts at diversifying the economy is yielding results.
He said the efforts had resulted in increased foreign exchange from agricultural products.
Edet-Akpan said this in Anyigba, Kogi, while opening a one-day workshop on cashew nuts value chain, entitled: “Cashew Nuts Quality Control and Regulations in Nigeria”, organised by Federal Produce Inspection Services.
He said that data from the foreign trade report of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed that Nigeria’s total export for the third quarter of 2018 was N4.85 billion.
The figure, according to him, represents a 7.8 per cent increase from second quarter of 2018 and a 35.7 per cent increase over third quarter of 2017.
“This is an indication that Nigeria’s effort to diversify the economy appears to be yielding results with increased revenue from cashew nuts and other agriculture products’ export,” he said.
The permanent secretary said the achievement could only be sustained if stakeholders in the cashew value chain adhered strictly to global best practices in cashew business.
This, the permanent secretary said, necessitated the workshop which was expected to evolve workable initiatives, particularly on how best to improve on cashew quality taking into cognisance relevant quality parameters.
The quality parameters according to him, include mouldiness, insect damage, slatey, black spots and dampness as well as relevant national and international regulations, application of recommended agro-chemicals and improved enforcement of quality control of agricultural commodities.
“This will in turn help in complying with the Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary Measures (SPS) agreement and World Trade Organisation (WTO) regulations and enhance competitiveness of our agro commodities in the international market.
“The workshop is in line with the Ministry’s statutory mandate of enhancing competitiveness of Nigerian agricultural commodities for both domestic and international markets by ensuring that stakeholders along the commodity value chain adhere to minimum quality standard,” he said.
Edet-Akpan hinted that the programme was also meant to enhance stakeholders’ capacity on the application of recommended agro-chemicals for cashew without jeopardising its quality for a sustainable cashew export growth.
The state commissioner for Agriculture, Mr Kehinde Oloruntoba, represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mr Emmanuel Idenyi, commended the Federal Ministry of Industry for the workshop and assured that a number of measures had been put in place to guarantee quality in production of cashew in the state.
Oloruntoba, however, reiterated that efforts at attaining high quality cashew production ought to commence from planting on the right soil, quality seed, planting, weeding up to harvesting and post-harvesting activities particularly, storage and marketing.