The Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) says it is partnering with the Ekiti State Government on the development and packaging of banana for exportation.
Mr Segun Awolowo, the Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer of NEPC, announced the partnership at a stakeholders’ forum in Ado-Ekiti on Wednesday.
Awolowo, who was represented by Mr Samuel Oyeyipo, the NEPC Regional Coordinator for the South West Regional Office, said that NEPC and the Ekiti State Committee on Export Promotion had identified cassava and banana as the main and alternate products under NEPC’s One-State-One-Product (OSOP) programme.
Under the programme, an offshoot of the zero-oil plan of NEPC, Awolowo noted that each state of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) were expected to select a main product and an alternate product for development and packaging for export.
The executive director commended the state for being the only state in the country that had selected banana for packaging for export.
He said that the global total value of banana trade in 2019 stood at over 14.7 billion U.S. dollars, with an average annual growth rate of over 11.3 per cent.
Awolowo stressed that the global export potential for banana had been on the rise and would continue be on the upward surge in years to come.
He said that the situation had provided a unique opportunity for Ekiti State to become a global player in banana exports, if its potential was properly harnessed.
The NEPC boss assured Ekiti State Government and other state governments of the readiness of NEPC to partner with them in the economic diversification drive.
He appreciated Gov. Kayode Fayemi and the entire people of Ekiti State for supporting the opening of an NEPC Export Assistance Office in Ado Ekiti.
Awolowo said that the presence of NEPC office in the state would further strengthen the cordial relations existing between the council and the state government.
In his remarks, Chief Olumuyiwa Olumilua, the state Commissioner for Trade, Investments and Industries, commended NEPC for the stakeholders’ forum.
He listed the various actions taken by the government to attract foreign and local investments into the state.
The commissioner pledged the readiness of the state to partner with any agency on any initiative that would boost the agricultural and industrial development of the state.
The event drew participants from various sections of the banana value chain, including farmers, government officials, non-governmental organisations, entrepreneurs, academics and researchers as well as Nigerian Institute of Horticultural Research (NIHORT).