At least 120 local farmers in Nsukka area of Enugu State have been sensitised and taught procedures for exporting their produce to earn foreign exchange and get more money from their yields.
The Ski-Business Solutions Limited also introduced the farmers to quick grow and high yield seedlings in palm front and jumbo-cashew nuts meant to reposition them for effective export business.
The seminar, which was organised by Ski-Business Solutions Limited, NEPC and Udoamaka Diogbe Farmers Multi-Purpose Cooperative Society Limited, was themed: “Innovative Seminar on Cashew Nuts Production and Processing, Export Promotion and Mechanised Farming”.
The seminar also has a sub-theme: “The Declining Cashew Nuts for Export and the Way Forward”. In an address, Dr Uchenna Anikwe, Export Consultant with Ski-Business Solutions Limited, said that the essence of the seminar was to ensure that local farmers key into export business that would grow the nation’s economy.
Anikwe noted that there was a lot of waste of local produce that could be harnessed and processed up to international standard for exportation and would bring hard currency for the farmers and make the farming business highly lucrative. He said that the seminar is meant to get them thinking, ensure reduction in waste of local produce, how to farm and package their produce to meet export purpose and earn money in dollars.
Anikwe said: “We want them to know that the Federal Government has granted license for a Domestic Export Warehouse in Akwuke community within Enugu in order to facilitate international export trade within the South-East and beyond.
“The warehouse would hopefully be functional before the end of the year and it would ease the bottleneck involved in export in the region. We are introducing them to quick grow and high yield seedlings that would replace aged or low yield seedlings in farms so that they make more yield as well as meet international specification with the new improved seedlings.
“Most important, that they (farmers) should get ready to ensure all our local produce are preserved and packaged for export; thus, soon there will be no more waste of produce in any farm.”
Anikwe, who is also the Traditional Ruler of Diogbe community in Igbo Etiti Local Government Area of Enugu State, said that the seminar would make farmers look at export values of local produce and other materials we have around locally.
In his remark, Mr Emmanuel Dimike, a representative from Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC), said that presently all produce can be exported except maize, adding that Nsukka cashew, yellow pepper, ogbono, egusi, scent leaves among others are highly needed.
Dimike, who is with South-East NEPC Regional Office, said that the council was out to assist all exporters with knowledge and best advised to see that the export packages gets international standard and acceptability.
Dr Pauline Obianuko, from Raw Materials Research and Development Council, noted the importance of leveraging research, innovation, and technological-digital platforms to streamline export operations, which would help added value to the potable produce.
Obianuko, who was one of the facilitators, said there was a need for rural agriculture entrepreneurs to have insights to effectively position themselves in the global marketplace; thus, making rural farmers’ giants in export business while reducing nation’s import.
One of the participants, Mr Chukwuemeka Elias, said that the seminar had highly enlightened him on standard practice for export, adding: “It will go a long way and gradually turn most importers to exporters in the South-East.”
Another participant, Very Rev. Fr. S.N. Ugwueze, Director, Justice and Peace Commission, Catholic Diocese of Nsukka, thanked the organisers of the seminar for bringing something that would uplift the economic status of the rural farmers in Nsukka and its environs.
Ugwueze, however, urged that the seminar should be organized more in Nsukka and its environs, adding that the Catholic Church and other churches would collaborate to ensure more people get into export business.
“It is good our people should key in and get zealous to improve their economic well-being and capacity through guided export business tailored to succeed. This move will create jobs and reduce poverty among us,” he added.