Three agricultural products- soya beans, cashew nut and sesame seeds are turning big export earners for Nigeria, as economic policy makers attempt to wean the country away from crude oil.
The three products, along with coffee, rubber, kolanuts, palm kernel, cotton, kolanut, ginger, timber, shrimps, were showcased as exportable goods, by the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, at a presentation at the National Economic Council meeting in Abuja on Thursday.
The meeting, which was presided over by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, decided to set up a National Export Promotion Committee to ramp up the export of non-oil products.
The committee has Jigawa Governor Mohammed B. Abubakar as chairman, with Trade and Investment Minister, Dr. Okey Enelamah as Co-Chair.
Lagos and Ebonyi State Governors and the federal ministers of Agriculture and Rural Development, Power, Works and Housing, Transportation and Finance are also members.
Other members are drawn from the Nigerian Export Promotion Council, NEPC, Nigerian Export Processing Zones Authority, NEPZA, NEXIM Bank, and the CBN.
The Committee which is expected to submit an initial report by November will produce an action plan on how to drive non-oil exports based on the presentations and discussions of Council at the Thursday meeting.
Udoma spoke on “Strategic Export Initiatives – A framework and action plan to grow and diversify export of agro-products.
He told the Council that agricultural export increased by 82 per cent in the first quarter of 2017, while export earnings from agricultural goods stood at N30.0 billion for the same period.
The export value of Sesame seeds topped the chart, with the sale of N3.7 billion of the product to Turkey; N1.6 billion to China; and N1.6 billion to India.
Sesame seed exports in Q2 was N7.0 billion or 23.6% of total agriculture exports.
Sesame seeds export to Japan was N1.3 billion; India N0.9 billion; Turkey N0.9 billion; South Korea N0.8billion; and China N0.6 billion.
Soya beans export export also recorded N3.4 billion to Russia; and N1.2 billion to Greece in Q1.
Cashew nut export to Vietnam brought in N1.8billion during the period.
In the second quarter, cashew nut exported to Vietnam was N12.16 billion; N1.4billion to India and N6.34 million to Kazakhstan, a great improvement over export level in the first quarter.
There were other agro-product performers such as frozen shrimp export of N2.2billion to the Netherlands, Crude palm kernel oil export of N1.2 billion, also to the Netherlands.
Frozen shrimps and prawns’ export was N1.6billion or 9.6 per cent of total agriculture exports. The products were bought by Netherlands N1.5 billion; Belgium N0.67 billion; United States N0.22 billion; France N0.17 billion; and Spain N87 million.
Exports of soya bean flour and meals were N2.3 billion (7.8% of agricultural exports): N2.1 billion to Spain; N116.6 million to Ghana.
Other agricultural exports are Ginger N663.7 million; flowers N568.5 million; Peanut kernels and other groundnuts N481.3 million; and Milk and cream powder N282.4 million.
According to Udoma, the total value agricultural goods’ trade in Q2 2017 was N261.92 billion representing 4.60% of total trade in Q2 (1.03% lower than N300.2 billion in Q1)
He said agriculture exports in Q2 were driven by the export of Cashew nuts worth N13.5billion or 45.4% of the total agriculture exports and 1.37% of total exports.
The minister however pointed out that after recent export gains by agricultural products, they only account for 0.96% of total exports in Q2 2017.
He told the meeting that Asia(66.38%); Europe (24.98%); Americas 4.37%; Africa 3.88%; and the Oceanic 0.39%, were the major destinations of the agricultural exports.
Other agricultural exports: Ginger N663.7 million; flowers N568.5 million; Peanut kernels and other groundnuts N481.3 million; and Milk and cream powder N282.4 million.
The Nigerian Export Promotion Council also made a presentation to the NEC, on a plan to restructure the Nigeria Economy to survive without Crude Oil. The Plan is called “The Zero Oil Plan”.
Council was informed that Nigeria is going through the sharpest falls of export revenues in her history, losing over $100 billion US dollars (N30 trillion) of National export revenue between 2015 to 2017 due to the crash in oil prices and plunged the economy into recession.
Council was informed that there was urgent need to rapidly ramp up non-oil exports as our future earnings from crude oil face significant headwinds.
“The “Zero oil Plan” aims at earning at least $30 billion from non-oil sources in the near to medium term as against the current earnings of about $5 billion. The objectives of the Zero Oil Plan is to add $150 billion to Nigeria foreign reserves over the next 10 years, create 500,000 jobs, lift 10 million Nigerians out of poverty and integrate each State of the Federation into the export value chain.
“The focus of the plan is on the export of Rice, Wheat, Corn, Palm Oil, Rubber, Hides and Skin, Sugar, Soya beans and automotive parts among others”.