BY SIVOWAKU ABIODUN, Lagos
The executive director of Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Mr Segun Awolowo, has called on relevant government agencies such as the ministries of agriculture, commerce and industry, women and youth development, technology and incubation centre (TIC) and others to assist the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) accordingly in a bid to excel.
Awolowo, who gave the advice at the capacity building programme for SMEs held in Owerri at the weekend, said the NEPC would continue to assist the SMEs through her product development efforts in line with its mandate.
According to him, “it is my expectation that the MSME exporters and potential exporters avail themselves of these opportunities to be mainstreamed into high quality cultures in production and processing.
“Participants are also advised to visit NEPC website for further information of our activities,” he said.
The NEPC boss said, capacity building for SMEs in the Agro Value Chain was a perfect action towards increasing the production and processing of high quality agricultural products in Nigeria through strengthened technological skills of the SMEs in the agro public-sector.
Awolowo said the resource persons, as experts in relevant areas of concern, would prepare the participants as desired to make a paradigm shift from old practices of agriculture and urged the participants to embrace the training with determination and zeal.
SMEs, he pointed out, were recognised globally as instruments for economic growth, development and poverty reduction and provided employment to a large number of citizens in a given economy.
As such, he said, there was need for a well-planned intervention to raise the technological skills of the SMEs in a way that those involved in agro production and development could produce high produce for export through the use of affordable and new technologies.
The national president, Ogbono (Irvingia) Commodity Value Chain, Mr Nnadosie Udensi, said, the absence of extension workers was the bane of agro-based business.
He said, Nigeria’s population was growing with agriculture as the only way she could meet up with the population growth.
President of Imo Cooperative Federation, Mr Hypolite Uzoka, who represented the state commissioner for commerce and industry, Mr Simon Ebegbulem, said the programme was timely as the Nigerian economy had been overstretched through dependence on oil hence the need for diversification.
He said, the state was doing everything possible to encourage people from the rural communities and agro-based SMEs to participate in programmes aimed at rebranding the country and its products through agriculture.