The Nigeria Government on Thursday pledged to develop the nation’s commodity market and value chains in line with its economic diversification agenda.
The Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Hajia Aisha Abubakar, made the pledge at a meeting with members of the Federation of Agricultural Commodity Associations of Nigeria (FACAN) in Abuja.
She said government would work closely with commodity associations in addressing the numerous challenges facing the country’s commodity trading system.
Abubakar said that the present administration to this end, she told her guests that government would rely heavily on the input of stakeholders, especially FACAN and its affiliate associations.
FACAN is the umbrella body of 18 associations covering commodities, such as cocoa, cotton, palm oil, honey, hides and skin, sesame seed, ginger, among others.
The minister’s comments were in response to separate presentations by chairmen of the associations in which they highlighted the economic potential and challenges facing their produce.
Some of the challenges include the lack of modern and efficient domestic commodity markets, poor storage, processing, transportation and quality infrastructure, and the lack of access to affordable finance.
The minister said: “I just want to assure you that we have a listening administration now.
“We might not be able to address all the issues you have identified at once due to the challenges we are having with funds.
“But we are ready to work closely with you to see which of them we can solve and which you can handle on your own.”
Abubakar said that the ministry, through the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), was working on a policy document for the establishment of a national quality infrastructure.
She said the step would pave way for an efficient quality control system that would ensure that Nigerian commodities met both local and international standards.
“So much is going on but unfortunately the resources that we require to do what we intend to do are not available and so we have to prioritise.
“Yesterday at the Federal Executive Council meeting we spent the entire time talking about exportation of our commodities and the minister of Agriculture was very passionate about it.
“There was an incident involving somebody who wanted to export pumpkin leaf but at the last minute all her produce was wasted because something happened at the port and she was really upset about it.
“So, we spent time deliberating on how to build synergy among all relevant agencies, including Customs, to address these issues.
“We are all looking at these things in the same direction and so with more dialogue and interactions we can chart a way forward,” she said.
The FACAN delegation to the meeting comprised its National President, Mr Victor Iyama, and chairmen of the 18 affiliate commodity associations.
They presented copies of work plans in their various sectors to the minister for consideration