Akure – The Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) on Wednesday in Akure trained no fewer than 200 fish farmers and fish processors on how to meet up with international standards.
Mr Segun Awolowo, the Chief Executive Officer of NEPC, said that fish was one of the exportable products in Nigeria and that it had great capacity to contribute significantly to its economic growth, if the right practices and polices were done, hence the need for the workshop.
Awolowo, who was represented by Mr Oluwole Monehin, the Trade Promotion Advisor, NEPC, Akure Smart Office, said the programme was aimed at addressing some issues in enhancing the performance of the Nigerian fish industry in the foreign market.
According to him, unacceptable practices in fish production often led to discounted pricing or outright rejection of the product in the export market.
“Product quality is very important in export business because it plays significant roles in product acceptability, pricing and repeat buying.
“Despite efforts made by various stakeholders, sharp practices, on one hand, and lack of adequate knowledge on the other, still impact negatively on the quality of our products.
“It is in line with this view that the NEPC considers strategically important to draw together critical stakeholders for inclusive efforts for the successful implementation of its various export development programmes, to ensure sustainable economic growth.
“This is why this export skill acquisition is not only apt but necessary,’’ he said.
Awolowo urged the participants to take advantage of the workshop to advance the course of fish business in Ondo State, in particular, and Nigeria as a whole, so that the sector would take its pride of place in the export landscape of the country.
Similarly, Mr Oluwole Monehin, the Trade Promotion Advisor, NEPC, Akure Office, said that the training programme became imperative for practitioners in the fish sub-sector with the recognition accorded by the council to the huge potential in the fish sector and access to a global market share of about $187 million per annum.
Monehin, represented by Mr Yakubu Olagunju, the Head of Product and Marketing Department of the Akure Office, said that the country was seriously yearning and looking forward to a robust economy devoid of oil revenue.
He noted that the competition at the international market had become very fierce, such that only products that met acceptable standards could be sold.
Monehin added that the council had embarked on a series of activities toward development of products such as: cocoa, oil palm, cashew, cotton and other exportable products in the state for the past two years.
“NEPC in Ondo State has trained 1,000 cocoa farmers in at least over 7 communities on Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), both in Ondo and Ekiti States.
“Equally, oil palm farmers and cashew farmers have benefitted on this window of capacity building programme opened by the council,” Monehin explained.
The NEPC head in the state stated that the training would educate the participants on modern day fish processing, which would boost the quality of their products, urging them to make best use of the acquired knowledge for improving the export landscape.
Speaking to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Dr Amin Bashir, the Lead Facilitator, said the aim of the training was to enhance the capacity of fish processors in the state with a view to ensure good quality of smoke.
Bashir added that there was a large demand of the product by Africans in the diaspora and that it could be a good source of foreign exchange.
Two of the participants, Mrs Agnes Olatunde and Mr Olajide Ayemorode, applauded NEPC for organising the programme, saying it was timely and would remould the quality status of fish products, especially in the international market.