By Chibuike Nwabuko
Abuja (Sundiata Post) – Nigerian Export Promotion Council, (NEPC) and Japanese External Trade Organisation, (JETRO), are partnering to reduce multi-billion dollars losses arising from poor packaging of Nigerian agricultural produce.
In a statement made available to Sundiata Post, the Executive Director/CEO of NEPC, Olusegun Awolowo disclosed this at a one-day capacity building programme tagged “Logistical Packaging Technology for Agricultural Products”.
Awolowo who said that “there is no shortcut for producers of vegetables and perishable products to have competitive advantage in the global market without quality packaging system, added that about 40 – 50 percent of Nigeria fresh fruits and vegetables are lost as a result of poor packaging, handling and preservation.
He stressed that the capacity building programme will not have come at a better time than now as it will assist the average farmer and exporter to gain better insights into issues relating to global standard on packaging for export.
“Our resolve to collaborate with JETRO and other stakeholders is borne out of the need to drastically reduce post-harvesting losses among farmers, processors and exporters leading to revenue losses and poor quality produce”, he said.
Awolowo who noted that the capacity building programme was in line with the ZERO Reject policy of Federal Government adding that packaging and standards were global issues that determine product development and sustainability in the market.
The Executive Director called on stakeholders and participants at the event to realize that packaging for agricultural products is very important to all aspects of product development and marketing functions.
According to him, “Needless to point out that a good quality product without efficient packaging is as good as a bad product”.
Earlier in his address, the Taku Miyazaki Trade Commissioner/MD Japanese External Trade Organisation (JETRO), said “there are huge potentials in agricultural sector in Nigeria as the country is among the largest producing nations of commodities like yam, cassava, groundnut and maize”, maintaining that Nigeria is presently the biggest supplier of sesame to Japan for the purposes of producing edible oil.
According tohim, in 2016 alone “Nigeria exported approximately 55, 000 Metric Tonnes of sesame to Japan and as such, JETRO wants to contribute and encourage exportation of Nigerian agricultural products to the world through the provision of logistical packaging.