The National Association of Nigerian Traders, has advised the Federal Government to diversify export of agro commodities to African countries and China, rather than concentrating on EU market.
The President of the Association, Mr Ken Ukaoha gave the advice in Abuja.
Ukaoha said that the country should look beyond EU market.
“We must begin to look at extension of market; our market must not end up with EU alone. China is there, Canada is there and Japan, even Africa and West Africa is within us so we need to explore the markets that are within us,’’ he said.
The official recalled that some Nigerian goods were rejected in EU market due to handling of such commodities from the country.
He, however, said there was the need to begin to educate farmers in terms of handling of fertilisers and herbicides as well as processing of agro commodities.
“The packaging of such products is important also, so traders need to also work on that. Beyond this, there is the need for government to improve on phytosanitary measures for the products to meet up with international standard.’’
Phytosanitary are measures for the control of plant diseases, especially in agricultural crops.
Ukaoha also urged the regulatory agencies to do more in ensuring that the exported goods meet international standards.
In addition, he said that the country should add value to the exported commodities, saying: “We should not be sending out raw commodities like that. We may do a little further in processing or semi processing along the value chain so that we can have more funds as well.’’
The official said further said that the economic challenges had affected the business of the traders.
According to him, traders are receiving low patronage at present due to the economic recession, short supply of funds in the system, and inflation.
“People are no longer buying goods the way they used to and commodities are also reducing in terms of export and import. Twenty seven (27) per cent of Nigerian traders who were importing could not do so again because of the currency purchase and inflation. Also, people are looking inward for local alternative substitute here and therefore patronage is not as high as it used to be“, he added.
According to him, looking inward for local alternative is good for the economy.