The Executive Director, Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Mr. Olusegun Awolowo, said with the economic diversification of the Federal Government, the country would survive with the zero oil plan initiated by the Council.
Awolowo disclosed this on Tuesday during a one-day capacity building workshop on “Improving the Nigerian Soybeans Value Chain for increased export” held in Shendam Local Government Area of Plateau State.
Awolowo, who was represented by NEPC Regional Coordinator, North Central, Mr. Christian Elekwa, said each state was asked to identify and develop a product that would be exported and Plateau State emerged in the production of soybeans.
“Nigerian Export Promotion Council is saddled with the responsibility of promoting non-oil export in Nigeria and the agency has taken pragmatic steps to redesign non-oil export direction through the zero -oil plan.
“This is a cutting-edge economic diversification programme which intends to prepare Nigeria for a future economy without oil. The plan is an important component of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), a medium-term development framework (2017-2020) of the Federal Government and soybeans happen to be part of these products.”
He noted that Plateau is one of the emerging states in the production of soybeans and other soy products that, if well developed, would turn around the non-oil export fortunes of Nigeria.
“Soybeans are a quick-win product that is targeted by the Council in its product and market development activities towards the achievement of the zero oil plan.”
Elekwa, however, explained that Nigeria is one of the major producers of soybeans and the product is mostly produced in the Middle Belt region of the country.
“Despite the fact that Nigeria possesses the right resources and agro-ecology for soybeans production, it has remained a marginal exporter of the product, hence the need for intensive development and promotion of the product for export.
“For Nigeria to be a significant player in the international soybeans marketing in the international market, the challenges facing farmers and other stakeholders among which includes, quality, storage, handling and packaging.”
The workshop which was declared open by Permanent secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Dr. Elias Pede, represented by Assistant Director Technical, Davou Yakubu, said soybeans is an industrial crop that is among the world’s healthiest foods.