By Sarafina Christopher
Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment has inaugurated and sworn-in 10 new executives for all commodity associations under the aegis of Federation of Agricultural Commodity Associations of Nigeria (FACAN).
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the executives were put in place to oversee the activities of all other commodity associations, and the export of agricultural commodities from the country.
Dr Evelyn Ngige, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, who inaugurated them, stressed the need for Nigeria to start looking into the agricultural sector as a new source of income.
“As we can see the global crude oil business is dwindling, and the global direction is moving away from enforcing fuel in doing things,
“Crude oil is Nigeria’s main commodity in generating foreign exchange so we have to look for other means. It has been observed that agriculture is the only way to go if we want to make it in Nigeria.
“The African continental free trade agreement is a very huge opportunity for Nigeria to make it,
“We will go on a right path towards ensuring that the products will become sought for throughout Africa and there will be free buying and selling all over Africa,” Ngige said.
The President of FACAN, Dr Victor Iyama, represented by the state Coordinator on Contract Farming, Mr Isaac Ojonugwa, in his remarks commended the Federal Government over the inauguration.
Iyama said that the inauguration was very important for the growth and development of the agricultural sector in the country.
“The significant of today’s event is to see how we can develop agricultural commodities associations in Nigeria, so that the country will be able to earn more foreign exchange,
“These commodity association executives put in place would be able to increase value addition for our commodities that are for export and local consumption,” he said.
Speaking over the ban of charcoal exportation, he said that it was understandable that the move was to stop deforestation.
He, however, noted that plans were underway for afforestation by replacing the charcoal trees that are being felled.
Mr Babatunde Edu, President, National Association of Charcoal Producers, Dealers, Exporters and Afforestation of Nigeria expressed delight on the inauguration.
Edu also appealed to the government to lift the ban that was placed on charcoal exportation as it has affected businesses in Nigeria.
“Due to the ban, there have been several damages for eight months now, all our businesses are on stand still.
“We have several investment losses and there are many international buyers that have given Nigerian exporters money for charcoal.
“But today all those investments are trapped in the country and this has sent a wrong signal to the international world about Nigeria.
“Also the ban has affected citizens because the cost of charcoal before a bag was N1,600 but today it’s about N4,000 due to the low production,” Babatunde said.
Mr Suleman Audu, Director, Commodities and Export Department Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, in his remarks said that the ministry would be responsible for the formation and nurturing of all Executive in Commodities Associations.
He also encouraged the Executive inaugurated to be committed to the work while assuring that he will be monitoring them so that they don’t derail. (NAN)