Friday, 19 July 2019

ARMTI PURSUES IMPROVEMENT IN AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS EXPORT

The Agricultural and Rural Management Training Institute (ARMTI) has called for increased export of agricultural products. It made the call at a workshop held at the ARMTI Regional Training Centre in Abuja. It had as theme ‘’Smallholders and rural agro producers’ inclusion in exportation.’’

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At the event were major stakeholders in the agro export sub-sector who identified challenges facing in the sector. A communiqué signed by the institute’s Executive Director, Dr. Olufemi Oladunni, noted that quality and competitiveness of agricultural products, though improved, were still low.

This is because the sector is facing some difficulties and challenges, including global fiercer competition and stricter quarantine regulations of plants, food safety and quality,  it said. According to the communiqué, farmers still apply old production customs and pesticides.

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The workshop observed that farmers were ill equipped to take advantage of the opportunities in agritrade. Also, they were unaware of the maximum residue level (MRL) regulated in various markets, resulting in violation of import regulations and causing economic losses.

The experts recommended selecting good varieties and developing post-harvest, preserving, and processing technologies to increase the values of farm produce while enhancing connectivity among farmers, scientists, businesses and state management agencies to develop large-scale production models and ensure the quality of agri-products in the long run.

Others were addressing weak infrastructure, lack of capacity and the inability to meet technical product specifications and stringent requirements in terms of quality, safety, health and the environment impede their integration into global markets.

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The workshop urged relevant agencies to build a set of criteria on food safety and phytosanitary in addition to enhancing negotiations with exporters to have appropriate technical standards. The workshop noted that agriculture could stimulate growth by providing raw materials, food, jobs and increased financial stability.

The communique stressed the need   to support production and export of agricultural products, promote innovation and development of farms in the direction of focusing more on agricultural large-scale, high-quality goods-producing people; strengthening international integration capacity; trade promotion, market development, improve research capacity and forecasting agricultural supply and demand. (Nation)

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