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Nigeria Ready For Local Tomato Export- NEPC Boss

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The Executive Director, Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Mr. Olusegun Awolowo, has declared that the country has put in place necessary facilities to make locally produced tomatoes exportable and acceptable in foreign country.

According to him, the export drive for Nigeria agricultural produce has reached a stage of no return, adding that Nigeria was set to hit the global market with quality agro-allied products.

Awolowo made the declaration on Thursday, in Benin City while commending an indigenous producer of tomato, Wells Hosa Greenhouse Farms Limited, for deploying the use of greenhouse technology to produce exportable tomatoes in the country.

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The Executive Director, NEPC, Olusegun Awolowo, explained that with the technology Nigeria could now start to export tomatoes to every part of the world, maintaining that the technology would also help to end the era of Nigeria’s tomatoes being infected by different forms of diseases hence unacceptable overseas.

The NEPC boss stated this at the first harvest launch of Wells Hosa Green House Farms Limited in Edo State.

Meanwhile, the Minister of State for Agriculture, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, said the Federal Government had endorsed greenhouse farming to boost food production in the country, saying that before the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, agriculture was seen as a government’s programme, but stressed that with Wells Hosa Green House Farms initiative, Nigerians were seeing it as a business and investment.

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.Segun Awolowo

Awolowo said: “He wants to create wealth for the people in Edo State and also creating job opportunities. It is a good idea to use the green house technology, because all year round they would be growing and you can see the massive project he has embarked on and I believe if it is not the biggest in Africa it will be the biggest in West Africa.

“From green-house technology, you will not get any form of tomato diseases because they are covered and restricted and those are the kind of tomatoes we can export because it is easy to get into supermarkets across the world.”

According to him, local producers have increased, courtesy of the federal government’s ease of doing business, expressing hope of more local products finding their way on the shelves of Nigeria’s stores and supermarkets across the country.

“This technology will help to satisfy our local consumption and already most of our stores and supermarkets are filled with made-in-Nigeria goods because everybody is now producing and the ones that their goods are export-certified would be taken abroad,” he said.

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The Chairman, Wells Hosa Green House Farms Limited, Capt. Idahosa Wells Okunbo, said agriculture was key to changing the Nigerian narrative, pointing out that with green house technology, the country could produce quality and exportable round for local and global needs while also creating wealth and job opportunities in the country.

“People are seeing tomatoes, but I am seeing more than tomatoes. I am seeing jobs for the youths, empowerment, I am seeing food security for the country and export of our tomatoes to earn foreign exchange.

It is a project that having gone through the challenges and now we have a prototype and it is a project that is scalable and which we can also replicate across the country.

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Regardless of the weather, we can produce all kinds of tomato fruits and vegetable obtainable anywhere in the world. For me, it is a breakthrough and I thank God for using me as a vehicle to make this project achievable.

Our narrative in Nigeria has to change, for me agriculture is the only way we can change our narratives, create jobs for our children, and attain our manifest destiny”, Okunbo, a retired military.

Recall that NEPC partnered the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) to end the high level of rejects of Nigerian produce at the global market.
He explained that the partnership had become imperative to address EU’s suspension on the export of Nigerian dried beans due to high level of pesticide residue which he said was far above the Maximum Residual Level (MRL).

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Awolowo at a sensitisation workshop on implementation of the Export Control Plan on Dried Beans Export, said the move was an additional effort by the council at reducing the incidence of rejection of agricultural exports to European Union and parts of the world.

The Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) has partnered the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) to end the high level of rejects of Nigerian produce at the global market.

Awolowo, explained that the partnership had become imperative to address EU’s suspension on the export of Nigerian dried beans due to high level of pesticide residue which he said was far above the Maximum Residual Level (MRL)

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