Export rubber, cocoa, palm oil to us, EU tells Nigeria – Vanguard

The European Union (EU), has urged Nigeria Government to increase export of agricultural produces like rubber, cocoa and palm oil to the EU countries. The Head of EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Mr Michel Arrion, stated this at a press conference on commemorate the 40 years of EU-Nigeria partnership on Wednesday, in Abuja. Arrion said there were potential exports, which Nigeria could develop in commercial quantities for export, lamenting that such exports to the EU were currently in low quantities.

“There are potential exports like rubber for instance for tiles that you could certainly develop. We will be delighted to import and to buy more rubber from Nigeria; the problem is that the production is very small. We will be delighted to buy more cocoa from Nigeria. We are buying most of our cocoa from Ivory Coast and Ghana, while not from Nigeria?” he said. He challenged Nigeria to think of what it could produce in addition to its own consumption adding, Nigeria must meet its local demands before exporting. He explained that Nigeria has a lot of possibilities in agricultural products but that it would take several years to really have an export-oriented commercial farming policy.

He also said that there was the need for the price of Nigerian products to be competitive. “You (Nigeria) have to be competitive, I mentioned palm oil; I see a potential market for palm oil exportation from Nigeria to EU if the prices are competitive. “Today, they are not. Malaysia for instance, offers more competitive price, so Nigeria has also to work on the competitiveness of the country’s products.

He said there were several factors that contributed to competitiveness which included the costs of production, labour, land and energy, among others. “When your refineries of palm oil have to produce their own energy instead of being connected to the grid, you are less competitive than others,”he said. Arrion added that the competitiveness of Nigeria products is also being affected because the rate of exchange of naira vis-a-vis the dollar or euro is not reflecting the reality of the situation.

Nigeria imports N165 billion fruit juice annually – MAN

Nigeria spends N165 billion annually to import fruit juice, the president of the Manufacturers’ Association of Nigeria (MAN), Frank Jacobs, has said.

In a paper presented at a workshop organised by the Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC) in Owerri on Friday, Mr. Jacobs noted that in spite of the high rate of fruit production and a thriving juice market, the country imported fruits concentrates.

In the paper entitled “Promoting Investments in Concentrate Production’’, he said the situation resulted in an estimated loss of one billion dollars annually.

Mr. Jacobs, represented by Nwabueze Anyanwu, observed that Nigerian farmers also lost 60 per cent of their produce as a result of lack of processing facilities.

He listed other factors to include limited demand and logistics challenges such as handling and transporting the fruits to the urban centres.

“Importation of concentrates has adversely affected local fruits cultivation for juice processing,’’ the MAN president said.

He also said that the continued dependence on massive importation of concentrates by industries was not healthy for the nation’s economy.

He said that the availability of raw materials, a large market, a ready domestic concentrate and good export potentials should serve as incentives to attract

Jacobs said that the challenge of poor concentrates in the country could be overcome with improved high-yield seedlings, technology and technical services and better education and enlightenment for farmers.

He urged the government to ensure policy consistency to avoid a repetition of policy summersaults of yester-years.

The workshop was organised in collaboration with the Imo state Polytechnic, Umuagwo. (NAN)

, , , , , ,

Party politics aside, Nigeria must industrialize Now

By Ugo Nwagwu

The best time for Nigeria to industrialize was 35 years ago. The second best time; NOW!

Pre Independence Malaysia was rich in natural resources such as porcelain, spices (which were then traded as currency) and large deposits of Tin. As part of the British Empire, the British took over administration of the economy and also introduced Rubber and Palm Oil trees for commercial purposes and then brought in Chinese and Indian expats to work the fields and mines instead of locals. Pre 1970s Malaysia had an economy completely dependent on natural resources exported while basically everything it consumed was imported. Sound familiar?

Today, Malaysia though still state oriented, has a newly and open industrialized market economy. This is because in the 60s and 70s, the Malaysian government took painful and costly steps to industrialize their economy. The Malaysian government committed itself to a transition from being solely reliant on mining and agriculture as an economy to a multi-sector economy. Mining and agriculture dominated the economy up until the 80s and since then, it’s been the industrial sector driving growth. It took 25 years for the turn around.

If you read the papers and follow the news concerning all things about Nigeria’s economy, three things continue to drive the headlines: Oil prices, Nigeria’s insatiable appetite for FOREX (Dollar, Pounds, Euros and now potentially, Yuan) & diversifying to Agriculture.

One thing we still aren’t talking about is how to push past the politics of now, and blame shifting to chasing after real solutions that will benefit our children and their children. We are a nation of traders. We have always been a nation of traders and even if we exploit more of the agricultural sector, chances are that we will take the traders approach.

As we diversify into agriculture, the tendency will be to treat its produce as we’ve done with oil. Right now, Nigeria remains one of the largest crude production and exporting country but what plagues the average Nigeria today is the availability of refined crude. We continue to import refined crude at an amazing rate negating whatever balance of trade that could have been helped by crude export. Even if the state’s 3 refineries were working to capacity, it won’t produce enough to support a population of 180 million and growing.

Now we want to take the same mentality into agriculture by “mining” produce and then exporting the raw produce without any thought to a “National Vertical Integration” whereby we keep all our “raw produce” and process them here to first serve the immediate need of the population (limiting imports of those processed goods) and then exporting them. Simply put, if we grow tomatoes, we should be able to process every part of the tomato into everything Nigerians need from a tomato i.e. canned tomatoes, ketchup, tomato sauce, tomato paste, tomato puree all in Nigeria. This goes for every single agricultural produce we grow or plan to grow.

That’s one example but it can be applied to every sector in which raw materials are found. Palm oil is used in over 50% of everything found in a supermarket and you know which country has one of the world’s largest palm oil production potential? Nigeria! As a nation we need to invest not just in mining gold, lead, zinc or whatever metals are beneath the soil to smelting them and turning them into actual products that we can then export to other parts of Africa and the world thereby controlling all parts of its margins.

This level of industrialization would pump millions of jobs into the economy and lead to economic growth unrivaled in any part of Africa in its history.

How do we start? First we must resist the urge to turn the Naira-Yuan swap into another level of shopping binge for cheap Chinese goods but instead import heavy machines and power plants to build factories and manufacturing plants. We must continue to attract foreign investments that solely act to serve Nigeria in an industrialization master plan.

The Federal Government can pursue public private partnerships with matching investments and use the capital markets as part of their exit strategy thereby also providing a return of investments to shareholders. This is certainly more productive than subsidizing fuel consumption.

We don’t need more retail outlets and companies selling us high priced alcoholic beverages. We have enough cheap clothing and shoes coming in droves from all parts of the world.

If we do this and leave the politics and tribalism that only serves to separate us and shift our attention from the selfish ambition of today’s politician from the Local Government level to the Federal Government and all ministerial staff, then maybe in 25 years, we too would serve as an example for other countries to follow. If we get this done and done right, no one would be as concerned about the price of $1.

To borrow a phrase from one of Nigeria’s senators from Bayelsa, Senator Ben Muray Bruce, my name is Ugo Nwagwu and I just want to make common sense.

Is agriculture Nigeria’s new oil?

By Trust Matsilele

Agriculture is the new oil in my view; we are in a situation where we have a receding oil price and Nigeria” cannot continue to depend on it for revenues, Ada Osakwe, Founder and CEO Agrolay Ventures told CNBC Africa.

She added that the country has over 18 million hectares of arable land saying the country should put that land to good use.

“We have the people, resources, water and a booming consumer market; agriculture should help us rebalance our economy and move things away from oil dependency.”

Osakwe said agriculture is not only about making money but also changing lifes.

Emmanuel Ijewere, Chairman Bestfoods farms lamented the failure to plan and anticipate challenges.

“If we had done what we were supposed to have done many years ago, we wouldn’t be reeling from the fall in oil price,” Ijewere said.

He called on young people to consider venturing into the agriculture space.

“All young people left rural areas were agriculture is practiced into urban areas pursuing sectors such as banking and oil. We have to run three times fast so as to be where we were ten years ago. We need new ideas and new technologies.”

Ijewere says the future is in the hands of the country’s younger generation who have the strength and ideas to innovate in the agriculture sector.

“Our youths are the basic source of change we are looking for. Going forward we need youths to come up with new ideas so we can speed the transition into agriculture,” she added.

Other than food, the sector has the potential to create jobs.

Former President, Goodluck Jonathan, launched the Agricultural Transformation Agenda in 2011.

, ,

Nigeria to tap strategic wheat reserves to rein in food prices – Reuters

ABUJA, April 25 (Reuters) – Nigeria will tap its strategic grain reserves to rein in food prices, President Muhammadu Buhari said, as Africa’s biggest economy faces its worst economic crisis in decades fueled by a collapse in crude oil prices.

Annual inflation in the continent’s top oil exporter rose to a near four-year high of 12.8 percent in March from 11.4 percent in February, driven by a rise in food prices.

“President Buhari has ordered the release of 10,000 tons of grain from the National Strategic Grains Reserve to check food price increases,” his office said in a tweet on Sunday.

He ordered the agriculture ministry to assist “all able-bodied men and women” living in camps for people displaced by the jihadist Boko Haram group to return “immediately” to farming, it said.

The army has in recent months regained territory lost to the group, which has been waging a seven-year insurgency in the northeast, but most displaced people have been reluctant to return home given the volatile security situation.

A slump in oil revenue, which makes up 70 percent of Nigeria’s state income, has dried up hard currency supplies needed to fund food and other vital imports.

, ,

CBN Governor Emefiele pleads with Nigerians

April 19, 2016

At a the conclusion of the 2016 World Bank/IMF Spring meeting in Washington D.C., Godwin Emefiele, the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) spoke at a press conference, saying that the Federal Government of Nigeria is in talks with China concerning the increase of exports to the Asian superpower.

According to him, “China has appointed South Africa as its trading hub for Remnibi transactions in the south African region, has appointed Kenya as its trading hub for east and central Africa.

“And Nigeria, the mandate that we signed is for us to be appointed as the trading hub in the West African sub region. In all, we expect that it is going to be mutually beneficial.

“We are talking to China so that it would also be importing some of its own items from Nigeria, so that the trading balance can be sort of reduced.

“Will Nigeria benefit from this? I want to say categorically that Nigeria benefits from this. It’s less pressure on the dollar and consequently on our reserves.”

Emefiele insisted that the FGN and CBN will resist calls to devalue the currency without undertaking necessary reforms and giving them a chance to succeed.

“For the first time, we are taking structural reforms seriously in the country. We’ve always talked about, oh, when you do an adjustment, follow it up with structural reforms.

“But we are saying this time we’ve done an adjustment and we are following it up with structural reform, where we are saying we must diversify the economy away from depending on oil.

“I’ve said it that we have seen people who are coming in an investing, during the China trip, we saw people who said they can now come in instead of exporting those items into Nigeria, they can now bring those plants into Nigeria and begin to produce those things in Nigeria because our climate is good.

“I repeat, what is the raw material for fertilizer? It is gas. We have it in large quantity; when you bring in the plant, you don’t need to import any raw material again. We are seeing the green light at the end of the tunnel; we just want people to show understanding.”

, , ,

Nigeria: Agriculture Now Contributes Over 24 Percent to GDP – Central Bank

Agriculture’s contribution to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rose marginally from 23.86 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2014 to 24.18 percent, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said.
The CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, stated this during the Nigerian agricultural finance conference with the theme: “Catalyzing the diversification of Nigerian economy through effective agricultural finance.”
The CBN governor said the sector was larger than manufacturing and oil sectors combined, adding that it grew from 6.28 per cent to 9.50 in the same year.
The CBN governor, represented by the CBN Deputy Governor, Corporate Services (CBN), Mr. Adebayo Adelabu, also indicated that over 70 per cent of informal sector jobs created in the economy were related to rural agriculture.
He noted that the CBN’s pro-agricultural policies were geared towards reducing the over N630 annual import bills on foodstuffs and deepening agriculture contribution to GDP and reduce the unemployment rate of 9.9 percent.
Source: AllAfrica.com