NEPC trains 150 horticulture farmers, entrepreneurs on UK entry regulations, procedures


The Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) Ogun State Coordinating Office, has trained no fewer than 150 vegetable farmers and entrepreneurs in the horticulture value chain, on the United Kingdom entry regulations and procedures for the export of horticultural produce.

NEPC trains 150 horticulture farmers, entrepreneurs on UK entry regulations, procedures

The one-day workshop with the theme ‘Harnessing Horticulture Market Opportunities in the UK: Through Quality Regulation’ was organized by the NEPC in conjunction with the Ogun State Cooperative Federation (OGSCOFED).

Speaking at the opening session of the training held at the OGSCOFED Hall, Asero, Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, the State Coordinator of the NEPC, Mrs Francisca Odega, said that the main purpose of the workshop was to expose the farmers and entrepreneurs in horticulture to the current market demands and quality requirement for horticultural produce in the UK among others.

She added that the programme was also designed to create awareness on the internationally accepted quality for horticulture products from Nigeria.

Mrs Odega noted that Nigeria was missing out in the multi-billion dollar market of vegetables and fruits in the UK, Europe and America, hence, the need to sensitize the players in the sector on the huge available business opportunities.

She disclosed that pre shipment inspection agencies revealed significant growth export proceeds of 2017-2021 from $1.2b to $3.4b as against an annual average $22b food importation alone into the country, pointing that the country must strive to bridge the deficit by tapping into the new dimension in export business, especially in horticulture.

According to her, farmers and exporters of horticulture produce in the country, especially in Ogun State, required training and exposure in order to be able to march up with their counterparts in Cote D’Ivoire, Ghana, Cameron and Kenya in the area of vegetables and fruits export.

She, however, informed that apart from the incentives packaged by the NEPC to encourage and motivate exporters of vegetables and fruits in the country, off-takers had been identified in the UK to buy the produce.

The Ogun NEPC Coordinator, while urging the participants to be attentive and avail themselves with opportunities offered by the workshop, said that experts from the National Horticultural Research Institute (NIHORT) and National Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO) have been contacted to train the participants on the standard and requirements for the exportation of their products.

In their respective remarks, the Director of Research, NIHORT, Dr (Mrs) Olagorite Arinola Adetula, the National President of Horticulture Association of Nigeria, Mr. Sanya Falomo and the President of OGSCOFED, Wasiu Olaleye, commended the NEPC for designing the programme aimed at training and exposing horticulture exporters to the nitty-gritty of international standards and procedures.

On his part, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment in Ogun State, Olu Ola Aikulola, represented by the Director of Commerce, Ariyibi Opaleye, said the ministry would be ready to partner NEPC in its efforts to encourage exporters in the state, especially in horticulture and agro products.

He commended the Council for organizing the workshop at a time when the country was working seriously to totally diversify to non-oil export.

In her presentation entitled ‘Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) for Harnessing Horticulture Market Opportunities Through Quality Regulation’, a resource person from NIHORT, Dr (Mrs) Badmus, noted that Nigerian farmers had suffered a lot in exporting their commodities, adding that safety and quality of horticultural produce must meet with the international standard and procedures.

She identified inadequate quality seeds, poor regulatory control, susceptibility to pests and diseases and post-harvest losses, as challenges facing cultivation of horticulture production in Nigeria.

While informing the participants that they would need tolerant and disease-resistant seeds, she added that the timing for planting must be right.

Badmus, who assured the participants that they were already on the right path with the workshop, emphasized that packaging of their produce and marketing must be handled by professionals with experience in best global practices in export.

In his own presentation, the Project Director, NAHCO, Steve Adelaja, notes that the first step in exporting horticultural produce from Nigeria to the UK is to obtain the necessary permits and certifications.

This, according to him would include obtaining a phytosanitary certificate from the Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS) to certify that the produce has been inspected and met the required standards.

“Additionally, horticultural produce from Nigeria must be inspected by the UK Border Force upon entry into the country. This inspection may include a physical examination of the produce as well as laboratory tests to detect any harmful pests or diseases. If any issues are found during the inspection, the produce may be rejected or destroyed.

“Export documentation and processing of consignment Proforma Invoice,

Packing List, Combined Certificate of Value and Origin (CCVO), Phytosanitary Certificate and NAFDAC Permit, are other things needed to be done by any exporter wishing to export vegetables, processed and finished food products to the UK”, Adelaja submitted.

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