By Cynthia Ezekwe
The Netherlands consulate in Lagos and AFEX Commodities Exchange have partnered to boost agricultural commodities exports from Nigeria to the Netherlands.
The partnership was revealed at a roundtable discussion themed, “Sustainable Agro commodity Export,” held recently in Lagos, where stakeholders in the agriculture and trade sector, focused on scaling existing trade and resolving bottlenecks in the industry.
In her presentation Hanneke Schuiling,vice minister for foreign trade of the Kingdom of The Netherlands, observed that AFEX, as the fastest growing company on the African continent, has seen steep growth of exports.
According to Schuiling, the leading commodities player, accounts for 10 per cent of the cocoa and 30 per cent of the ginger flowing from Nigeria to the Netherlands, worth about $20 million annually, noting that the numbers are increasing.
She, however, pointed out that despite possessing substantial potential to generate revenue from agricultural exports, low productivity levels and rapid population growth have remained challenging factors to revenue.
To expand Nigeria’s export market access for agro commodities,the vice minister said it is crucial to deepen trade relationships, particularly with the European Union.
Speaking in the same vein, Michel Deelen, consul-general, Kingdom of the Netherlands, said that Nigerians can learn a lot from the Dutch strategy, especially in the area of seeding and achieve a lot in terms of agricultural produce.
“So I want us to use what they use because the problem in Nigeria has been coordinating the different sectors for greater productivity,” Deelen said.
In his remark, Ayodeji Balogun, chief executive officer at AFEX, disclosed that the company plans to open a new trade office in the Netherlands.
Making a case for the partnership, Balogun said that over the last four years, the average of bilateral trade flows between Nigeria and the Netherlands stood $ 6 billion annually and agro-commodities trade accounted for the second highest and fastest growing area of trade between both countries.
He also noted that the main exports products from Nigeria are cocoa, cashew, marine animals/fish, ginger, shea butter, grain, seeds, soybeans and fruits.