Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the country will soon export food to Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), following an agreement with Crenov8, a consultancy firm with food importers in the UAE, writes DANIEL ESSIET.
Promoting and diversifying agricultural exports to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a priority for Nigeria.
For this reason, taking stock of the results achieved by institutions and programmes designed to diversify exports is vital.
This was the outcome of discussions by experts at a forum organised by Crenov8 Consulting to announce its agro export gathering tagged, Meet the Farmers Conference (MTFC) in UAE, Dubai scheduled for November 27 and 28.
Participants discussed best practices for developing export plans for UAE and the Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCC).
Exporting agricultural and food products to Dubai, the experts noted, requires an analysis of the requirements in the export markets, along with robust testing and certification procedures to ensure quality products.
The Project Supervisor, Crenov8 Consulting; Mr. Babatunde Adenuga, said there was need to support the Federal Government’s efforts to accelerate development through agro trade, by strengthening the capacity of farmers to meet international standards for agro exports to the Middle East.
According to him, Dubai’s prime location and access to air and sea ports with the best technology makes it an ideal place for re-exporting foodstuffs.
He said UAE has a strong international reputation for food safety, quality, and innovation and that it was critical to strengthen the capacity of farmers and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to better understand and implement food safety systems based on the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP), a systematic approach to food safety to prevent export rejection.
He said the group planned to bring together import partners and Nigerian exporters to demonstrate the value agro exports could bring to Dubai end-users and assist in establishing a long-term, sustainable market. The overall strategy, according to him, is to provide growing, diversified demand for our exports.
Director, Poverty Alleviation Department, Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Mr Kehinde Ogunyinka said maximising the international trade opportunities for the agri-food sector could be an engine for driving strong, sustainable growth in the economy.
He said the Lagos State Government was ready to encourage agri-food firms, particularly SMEs, to consider the benefits of exporting and building it into their business strategies.
Working with the government and industry, he said the forum provides the opportunity for the country to unleash the export potential of agric sector.
Consultant, Crenov8, Bola Oyedele said the firm had entered into agreement with some Dubai companies to export food exports to UAE.
According to her, farmers and food producers from Ghana, Rwanda and Kenya working with the organisation have been able to export to UAE. Nigerians, she explained, had not been able to explore the opportunity.
She said food and agricultural products were in demand within the region.
She said exporters of agricultural products in Nigeria needs a helping hand, to overcome the many challenges they face in trying to develop new markets abroad and diversify their offering.
A key strategy, according to her, is to boost the capacity to produce internationally competitive products by adding value and creating new value chains for others.
According to Oyedele, “MTFC is targeted at both large and small small-scale farmers to tap into the $100billion market in Dubai- that’s why we are partnering with relevant stakeholders across both government with Bank of Agriculture, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Federal Ministry of Agriculture as well as the private sector with the likes of Farmcrowdy to help us aggregate farmers to export Agric produce to the UAE.”
Co-founder, Farmcrowdy, Tope Omotolani, said Kenya, Ghana and Rwanda have benefitted immensely from the first conference held in Dubai.
She said MTFC is a good initiative that must be sustained until it achieves its stated aims in linking Nigerian Agribusiness owners with the UAE market.