The federal government will export fresh vegetables worth $10 million in 2013.
Mr Mike Kanu, the Deputy Director, Horticulture in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, who disclosed this, on Thursday, in Umuahia, said that the federal govenment was poised to transform the horticulture value chain as well as promote the sale of perishable goods from Nigeria in the international market.
“Federal Ministry of Agriculture through the horticulture value chain called for the list of vegetable farmers producers of especially telferia, which is popularly known as ’Ugu’,” he said. “This vegetable is one of those vegetables that are in high demand outside Nigeria.
“And based on its importance in the entire economy especially in health, providing the necessary vitamins and also as a major source of income to some major states in Nigeria,
“The Honourable Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, approved the procurement of two metric tonnes of the seeds to be distributed to some selected farmers from the five states that is Abia , Ogun ,Delta, Cross River and Imo.
“Something like this vegetable special attention has to be paid towards their production. We will continue to distribute subsequently after this first batch.“
He said that no fewer than two hundred farmers drawn from the five states would benefit from the programme in the pilot phase.
Kanu said that the farmers would be expected to establish 200 hectares of telferia farm across the country.
“The target is to market one million dollars worth of fresh produce including Ugu leaves, Okro is there, Tomato is there, Carrot is there, Cucumber is there, in 2012 that was the target set.
“That of 2013 is 10 million. What are the things that will make us reach this target?
“Production of Ugu based on global good agricultural practices that will make your produce acceptable at the international market.“
Kanu said that the government was in partnership with the private sector in the initiative.
“We have what we call the Agricultural Fresh Producers Growers and Exporters Association of Nigeria (AFPGEA) with major key players like Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and the Dangote Groups.
“For which the government is trying to reposition to be in a better place to ensure the export of fresh produce from Nigeria to see if we can meet what other African countries are doing with exports produce.
“Currently we know that most horticultural crops are not officially exported outside Nigeria, whereas we have better advantage to dominate the entire European market.”
Kanu appealed to state governments to ensure the success of the programme in their respective states, saying that the Federal Government would not condone any act of sabotage.http://businessdaynigeria.com