Institute counsels farmers, governments on GAP specification for agricultural exports

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In a bid to improve the standard of the agricultural products for export abroad from Nigeria, the Institute of Export Operations and Management, Nigeria has called on the Nigerian farmers and state governments to embrace the Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) specifications to enable them carve a space in the international market.

The Executive Secretary of the institute, Mr. Ofon Udofia who made this call in an interview with newsmen in Lagos recently said that supermarkets abroad wanted to be sure of what they were selling to people that buy from them which necessitated the enthronement of GAP specification with its headquarters in Germany.

“So, in order for them not to have issues, they now came up with a GAP and said, for us to buy from you, you must have our specifications”, he added.

Udofia however disclosed that the Institute of Export Operations and Management had been able to train somebody who wrote the body’s examinations and now serves as their auditor in Nigeria to audit and prepare farmers in Nigeria to be able to pass their exams.

He continued,” The moment that is done and your farm has that specifications, you won’t look for market, Embassies will buy from you, in short before a vessel leaves Europe or anywhere, they will always tell them, if you want to stock, buy from this farm, we are sure of what they are doing and there is  also traceability.

“You know the other time, our beans was banned, why? It is not possible that all the beans from Nigeria were bad but they were not able to trace which particular farm that these bad beans came from. So, global GAP helps in traceability. You remember the other time that Toyota had issues with their cars; they were able to recall those cars because they had a traceability system. So, the global GAP thrives with traceability, it gives people confidence to buy”.

He pointed out that Kenya and South Africa have over one thousand farms that have the GAP specifications; Ghana has over three hundred, Cameroun and other countries equally had theirs whereas Nigeria could hardly boast of one.

“So, that is where we are looking at because if you are asking people to go into agriculture and do export, well except they want our yams to be returned and other products as usual because if you look at it, that was part of the factor, we didn’t do it right. If you don’t do it right, it will be very difficult except if you want to sell it to Africa shops, you know we don’t have premium prices for these products.

“So, we are working on that now and trying to talk to the farmers and some state governments like we just recently did in Edo State to enable them have those specifications”, he said.

He also added,” Of course, if farmers have it, in every value chain, everybody should mind his own business, the farmer is in the value chain, he is farming for export, we have the processors who buy from them to process, he is in the value chain, then we have now the broker who will start telling people, I have the knowledge where you can go and buy this, he makes his commission from that. Look at the employment generation now.

“Then, you have the merchant who has the money to go and pack all this things in one warehouse and wait for an exporter to come. You see that the jobs that the agriculture/export value chain can create, no other industry in the world can create them”.

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