NEPC eyes $30b from non-oil exports – The Nation

The Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) has said its Zero Oil Plan has the potential to increase earnings from non-oil sector to $30billion over the next five years.

Its Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer, Mr Olusegun Awolowo who spoke during a visit to the Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh in Abuja, said the plan has identified 11 strategic products and sectors in other countries for Nigerian goods. He said if the plan is adhered to, the non-oil sector would possibly move from $2.7 billion it currently is to $30 billion.

He said: “More recently, we have developed the Zero Oil Plan, in response to this administration’s charge that Nigeria must begin to look for new drivers of the economy.

“The plan is Nigeria’s strategic effort to build an economy that does not need oil to survive and can serve as a major flagship economic programme for the country.”

Meanwhile, the Council has advised Nigerians to embrace mushroom farming to boost the foreign exchange earnings of the country.

Speaking during a one day export workshop on mushroom development for export for growers in Osun State, the Trade Promotion Advisor at NEPC, Akure Office, Mr. Moruf Salami, said mushroom farming would promote the economic diversification agenda of the Federal Government and also boost food production.

He said:“The NEPC is organising this workshop to enlighten our business community on the rudiments of export trade for economic growth. Nigerians need to tap into the multimillion dollar mushroom business, there is a huge money in this business and Nigerians should explore the opportunities.

“The importance of non-oil sector to our national economy and its pivotal role in industrialisation especially in this period of dwindling oil revenue cannot be downplayed. The intention of this workshop is primarily to expose the farmers to modern ways of cultivating mushrooms to meet international standards thereby bringing out the distinct features of export business as opposed to domestic trade.

“Instead of depending on the old method of picking mushrooms from the wild, farmer could grow it even in the cities and make money from using technology to plant the crop.”

The Director of African Centre for Mushroom Research and Technological Innovations, Prof. John Okhuoya, said mushroom was in demand in the United States, Europe and Asia because of its health benefits.

He explained that African mushroom is sought after because it is being used to produce drugs, adding that it was being recommended for the treatment of ailments such as high blood pressure, diabetes, hypertension and others.

Also, the Regional Coordinator of NEPC, Mr. Babatunde Faleke, who noted that mushroom consumption had taken a global perspective, said that the crop could change the financial fortune of the growers.

By: Okwy Iroegbu-Chikeze and Adesoji Adeniyi