- Apapa Port Declared 160% Increase in Agric Exports in 2017
The federal government said the Tin Can Island at Apapa Port in Lagos declared 160 per cent increase in agricultural exports last year.
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, made this disclosure yesterday at a retreat held in conjunction with Synergos towards enhancing public service delivery.
Ogbeh said the increase projected a robust outlook as the country exported more than it was importing last year.
The minister said that more than 35 million dollars was earned last year from the export of Zobo, a local drink produced from Hibiscus leaves.
“All containers that used to carry cargo before and were half empty are now going out fully loaded with goods for export, such that we are now short of containers at the ports,” Ogbeh said.
He stressed that apart from oil and gas, agriculture was the biggest sector in terms of job creation in the country, saying that additional six million jobs were expected to be created by the 12 million Nigerians involved in the cultivation of rice.
“This year is our last lap and today, rice importation from Thailand has drastically reduced by 95 percent as directed by the President, who wants Nigeria to be a major exporter of food. There is a demand for Nigeria’s agro produce. All we need do is to strengthen our quality control and once make agriculture a force and a national culture,” he said.
He criticised the practice of drying tomato in Kano and Katsina States, which he said is harmful for human consumption, when they come in contact with the excrement of goats and cattle, whenever they run their mouths on them.
Ogbeh also added that government has the desire to open new frontiers this year by focusing heavily on improved fertilizer blending and plantation crops particularly cashews and cocoa.
Nigeria is presently rated as the fourth leading producer of cocoa beans in the world, behind Cote d’ Ivoire, Ghana and Indonesia.
According to Ogbeh, government intends to move up in the ranking as the leading grower of the cash crop over the next five years.
Cote d’ Ivoire’s current cocoa output as at April 2017 was 1, 148,992 tonnes while Ghana was second at 835,466 tons.
Nigeria produced 367,000 tons of cocoa in 2017.