Laolu Akande, Abuja: Once Nigerian products are properly standardized and packaged , exporting agricultural items would become much easier as standardization will promote the acceptance of such products abroad, according to Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.
According to him, “standardization is very important, we must get all the agencies such as the Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON), Export Promotion Council and others engaged in standardization to look into this issue and agree to some kind of standard,” adding that “it is important we get support for standardization of our products.”
Prof. Osinbajo stated this today during a meeting with a delegation of Nigeria Agribusiness Group at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, that the quickest way to surmount the rejection of Nigerian products is to involve buyers of the products.
“I think the first thing is that we must involve those who are buying our products so that we are able to surmount the difficulties quickly. We should not think that so long we are okay with our products here others out there can accept,” he noted.
He stated that “there is no question at all, agriculture is the way to go. Government is determined. The President has said the way out of our economic challenges is agriculture and that is what to do.”
He therefore advised those engaged in manufacturing and producing any kind of goods from the country to “take the issue of standardization seriously, it is something we must take time to look at.”
Responding to the issue of inputs raised by the representatives from Rice, Cotton, Maize, Cassava and others that make up the Group, Prof. Osinbajo said the government of President Muhammadu Buhari is determined to take agriculture beyond the level it was to where Nigerian youth would be happy to get involved.
“Mr President is determined, we have to look into the issue of fertilizer, quality seeds and timely delivery of inputs to the farmers,” he stated further.
On the issue of finance, the Vice President said it would be necessary to convene a meeting with the banks on the need for proper funding of the agriculture sector. He however, cautioned “we must recognize that the banks have options they do not want to take risk,” and therefore advised the group “to look at some kind of private intervention not just from the banks and be creative.”
In his presentation, the Chairman of the group and the Vice President, Dangote Group of Companies, Alhaji Sani Dangote, said Nigeria Agribusiness Group is a non-profit organization and an association of associations as well as a unified voice representing the interest of private and public sector stakeholders in the agriculture value chain, including small, medium and large farmer groups and cooperatives.
He said the delegation was in the Villa to introduce the Association to the Vice President and to discuss the way forward concerning Nigeria agribusiness. He assured the government that as a partner in progress, he needs government to engage them in policy issues in the agriculture sector.
Also today, Vice President Osinbajo reiterated the commitment of the Federal Government to pursuing the diversification of the economy through promoting industrialization which will provide millions of jobs for Nigerians
Speaking with a Chinese delegation led by Prof. Justin Yifu Lin, in his office, Prof. Osinbajo said the need for industrialization has become imperative because “ our people deserve better life and this administration is equally committed to achieving this“.
During his interview with journalists after the meeting, Prof. Justin Yifu Lin disclosed that his meeting with the Vice President and the Economic Management Team “discussed how Nigeria can diversify the economy to other sectors, especially to other sectors that can create jobs and exports in order to fulfill the expectation of people for prosperity”