Home Aviation Personnel Optimism beckons for Aviacargo export as Committee lists challenges, proffers solution to...

Optimism beckons for Aviacargo export as Committee lists challenges, proffers solution to enhance Nigeria’s ranking

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Ikech Uko, Coordinator, Aviacargo Committee delivering a paper at the FNAC2 in Abuja

There is a light at the end of the dark tunnel for Nigeria to be number one in Aviacargo in Africa.

Machinery have been put in motion to achieve this with the setting up of an Aviacargo Roadmap Committee by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN.

Coordinator of the Committee, Mr. Ikechi Uko while delivering a paper at the FAAN National Aviation Conference 2nd Edition in Abuja with the theme: ‘REPOSITIONING CARGO OPERATIONS THROUGH DEVELOPMENT OF AGRICULTURE AND NATURAL
RESOURCES IN NIGERIA’, listed obstacles that have frustrated Nigeria from being number for years.

These he said include; Non Compliance of Farmers to Internationally and Domestically accepted Standards, Lack of Certification, Inability to Trace (Traceability), Lack of Access to International Markets and Lack of Knowledge on global requirements.

Others are, “Bureaucracy (Too many Govt. agencies), High Cost Preservation and Packaging to global standard, poor Logistics, Insecurity, Weakness of Supervision, Poor Airport Infrastructure, Lack of Government support, Mindset/Attitudes, Lack of skilled manpower, Taxes and Charges and Funding”.

Because of these impediments, Uko said, 80% of containers arriving Nigeria return empty and out of every 10 containers that come into Nigeria laden with imports, only about 1 or 3 leave the country with exports.

Explaining further, he noted that Nigeria, as the largest producer of many Agro-products, loses $1bn annually to non-certification of Agri-produce for export.

According to Airport Council International 2021 statistics, Uko stated that, Nigeria being the largest producer of many Agro products, it ranked 5th on the African AviaCargo Export Chart after Kenya, Egypt, South Africa, Ethiopia in cargo volume.

Giving a World ranking of Nigerian Agricultural commodities based on the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) ranking, the Aviacargo coordinator said, Nigeria ranks number one in terms of production in Yam, Cassava, Shea Butter, Melon Seed, Kola Nut, Coco yam and Sorghum.

In other commodities like cashew nuts, palm kernel, ginger, chilies and pepper, pineapple, maize, groundnuts, plantain sesame seeds, rubber others, it ranks 2-19.

However, in Africa, he said Nigeria is number one in yam production in metric tons of – 50.1 million, followed by Ghana – 8.5 million, Benin – 3.2 million, Togo – 867,700 and Cameroon – 707,000.

In the Top all things Africa 2022 ranking in Africa, Ikechi said, “in the top 10 largest producers of carrots and turnips in Africa, Nigeria is 3rd, plantain 5th and Cow peas 1st with 3.6m followed by Niger with 2.6m tonnes. Nigeria and Niger account for almost 70% of the total world production”.

“USA was the major destination for Nigerian Non-Oil products in 2022 followed by Spain, India, Italy, Frans and Netherlands”.

He disclosed that the Nigerian Government has set plans in motion to grow cashew export from $252 million to $500 million for 2023, adding that States and Federal agencies should start mitigation of the identified challenges and obstacles.

The aviacargo coordinator suggested among others that all agricultural exports from Nigeria must start from a farm certified by the Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Services (NAQS) or a global GAP registered farm through a secured cargo pathway.

Uko added that, a secured pathway for aviacargo should be through known Shipper, Regulated Agent, Handling Company and Airline.

“Nigeria is already a leader in most Agricultural products, it; should target improvement in Agricultural practices, invest in solving the huge logistic problems of Agricultural products, enhance certification of farms and operators in the value chain”.

“Must insist on traceability of all exportable produce, tackle the mayhem at the export cargo terminals, upgrade packaging of all exports, incentivize the production of high value export crops and mitigate identified procedural and regulatory obstacles”.

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