Agricultural commodity export market is capable of providing the needed employment opportunities and foreign exchange earnings for Nigerians, especially, as a way of overcoming the challenges brought about by COVID-19 pandemic. Speaking at a week-long training programme designed for selected 40 participants on agricultural produce exports, held at the Agricultural and Rural Management Training Institute (ARMTI) Ilorin, the Executive Director of the Institute, Dr. Olufemi Oladunni, said that agricultural export market possesses sufficient potential to deliver the much desired diversification of the nation’s economy from oil.

Report shows that after the oil boom, Nigeria lost her agricultural commodity production position in cocoa, oil palm, cotton and groundnut to her competitors in South America, Asia and other African nations. “This is as a result of the ability of these countries to add more value to their agricultural produce to increase profitability and build a strong linkage with international markets.

“However, there are challenges limiting stakeholders/actors in the agricultural commodity export sub- sector of Nigeria to fully exploit the opportunities the global market presents. This situation is worsened with the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic that has badly contributed to the loss of foreign exchange earnings, income generation and food insecurity.

Dr. Olufemi Oladunni, who emphasised that agricultural commodity export market provides enormous opportunities for increased value creation, generation of revenue, employment and foreign exchange, noted that the training programme titled ‘ Value Creation through Effective Human Capital Development for Selected Agri Produce Export’ was organised to build the capacity of actors in the agricultural sector. At the end of the training programme, the Representative of the participants, Adejumoke Ademola-Ajayi, in her remarks appreciated the content of the programme as delivered by Resource persons, saying that they are better equipped with knowledge to benefit from agricultural produce export.

The participants, who also commended the Federal Government of Nigeria and the Management of ARMTI for providing an enabling environment for learning, called on the Institute to set up monitoring mechanisms to ensure maximum utilization of the acquired knowledge. Dr Bassey solicited for the support of the Minister and other stakeholders to facilitate the passage of the bill establishing the National Environmental Institute into law.

In her words, “We as a group have over the years sponsored the bill to establish a National Environmental Institute of Nigeria in the National Assembly without success. We recently represented it for consideration’’. The bill according to the President of NES, is to ensure that only those with requisite skills and expertise should be allowed to take part in Environmental issues and consultancy.

The Permanent Secretary, Abel Olumuyiwa Enitan in his remarks, commended the Society for taking interest in the ministry’s activities and their commitment to environmental issues and welcomed the offer for partnership. “I can only assure you that the ministry is ready and desirous of partnering with a serious, credible and well-organised entity, society and groups to drive the agenda of making our environment more conducive and sustainable in line with the socio-political mandates of this administration and other levels,’’ he emphasized.

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