By Dikachi Franklin, in Owerri.
As JLN displays tractors, farm tools
Nigeria, the most populous black nation in the world and the biggest economy in Africa by gross domestic product (GDP), as well as the biggest grower and producer of cassava, imports over $600 million cassava derivatives annually, clearly signalling the failure of policy and action to add value to its huge agricultural raw materials.
Felicia Agbahia, trade promotion advisor, Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Owerri Export Assistance Office, speaking at a one day sensitisation workshop on global best practices in cassava value chain held at the Benconn Hotels, Owerri, noted that the sensitisation training workshop was apt at this critical and prevailing economic condition Nigeria finds itself, a move that could strengthen understanding of the importance of cassava and how developing the value chain could help to reduce the import bills on its derivatives.
She stated that NEPC, the lead federal government agency, is saddled with the responsibilities of developing as well as promoting Nigerian non oil exports.
In order to achieve its vision and mission, the council would always be a step ahead in its programmes as well as its initiatives aimed at the development of the non oil sector.
She also remarked that in view of the importance of cassava as food and as industrial raw material, the federal government of Nigeria had placed cassava development at the front burner with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) championing that in collaboration with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) Ibadan and the National Roots Crops Research Institute (NRCRI), Umudike, Umuahia.
Cassava, a tropical crop thrives well in Nigeria hence it has become the biggest cultivator and producer.
The training workshop, which the Nigerian Export Promotion Council did in collaboration with the National Roots Crops Research Institute, Agbahia also noted, was necessary in view of the “dwindling oil revenue and the need for the region to look inwards to proffer solution to the threat of food insecurity in the country,” adding that “the workshop will no doubt help our distinguished participants in the best practices of production of cassava and its derivatives”.
Chima Ifekwe, director of operations, JLN Agric Implementation Services Limited, a division of JLN Farms, an affiliate of JLN Construction Services LLC USA, in a presentation spoke about the unique partnership with Weifang Winner Equipment Manufacturing Co. Ltd China and JLN where the Chinese firm manufactures according to the technical specifications and trademark of JLN Agric.
He noted that all their product lines – hitch, hybrid, low maintenance, energy/fuel efficiency tractors – are highly tropicalised to suit the African climate and environment.
Ifekwe informed that, “this development is a game changer with its multiplier effects not only on the agricultural sector-specific value chain development but the entire economy of the African continent which will act as a major driver to the economic integration protocol of ECOWAS and African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA) of the African Union, the largest free trade area in the world; and also help in the implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of food security and agro-forestry that ensures ambient livelihood and eradication of poverty “.
He showcased different types of tractors and other farm tools.
Frontpage April 13, 2020