NEPC Advises Ekiti Govt On Banana, Yam Export
The Nigerian Export Promotion Council has advised Ekiti State Government to encourage mass production and proper packaging of some of agricultural products including banana and yam for export to enhance foreign revenue earnings to boost the state’s economy.
NEPC Trade Officer, Mr Rotimi Babadipe, also urged the state government to tap into the benefits inherent in cashew, cocoa, cotton and palm oil production, which he said could attract huge foreign investments.
Babadipe, who spoke at Ikogosi Ekiti on Tuesday during a business summit, tagged ‘Harnessing agribusiness and export opportunities in Ekiti for wealth creation’, organised by E-11, said Ilawe Ekiti axis and the Ilasa Ekiti axis of the state had plantain and yam in large quantity with the capacity to dominate the world market with proper packaging.
He said, “Ekiti has one the best brands of yam and banana in the world. But we are trying to encourage export of the products by teaching traders the best preservation and packaging techniques that can attract value at the world market.
“We are not limiting this to yam and banana alone; we are teaching farmers about best fermentation techniques that can produce quality seeds to stop the degrading of cocoa product at the world market.”
He said NEPC conducted a research on banana and discovered over three million bunches of banana were traded annually in Ilawe Ekiti alone.
“And this brought the idea of conditioning and preservation of some of these for export. We are at present researching into how to encourage mass production of cotton in Ekiti to put the state on the world export radar,” Babadipe said.
An official of the Bank of Industry, Mr Raymond Tochukwu, said the bank had been promoting the growth of the Small and Medium Enterprises in the state through loans, saying, “The BOI has been helping genuine entrepreneurs in processing of agriculture products by providing funds.
“We don’t engage in buying and selling of products, but we can give funds for you to buy processing plants. In our bank, we can support you with as much as N10m for micro business while macro business structure can get above that depending on the size and with little interest rate,” the BOI official said.
The Chairman of E-11, Mr Kola Akosile, said the summit was intended to create awareness and reawaken businessmen’s interests in export opportunities abound in Ekiti, saying, “We brought a Canada-based Ekiti man, Mr Femi Boyede, to give a lecture on how to change and reorient our youths to engage in farming.”
He said the target was the enormous benefits in farming which he described as “the answer to the unemployment and the declining economic fortunes of our country.”