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.
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