Foreign technology companies at the ongoing 4th international trade exhibition in Lagos have expressed high confidence in the viability of the Nigerian packaging industry, with most of them positive that transfer of improved technology, knowledge and skills could help achieve the country’s long desired efficiency in its agricultural value chain.
About 140 international market leaders including 10 national participants with latest technologies from Austria, China, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, South Africa raised hopes for the packaging industry.
Robert Petri, the Kingdom of Netherlands ambassador to Nigeria, noted that his country being the second largest exporter of agricultural products to Africa is determined to share packaging innovations with Nigeria to strengthen its local capacity.
Appreciating the interest of the international allies, Ahmed Alex Omah, executive director Institute of Packaging Nigeria raised the need for a renewal of the public perception of plastic packaging as environmentally degrading activity.
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Plastics generated from packaging, he said, has driven creative waste management initiatives reflected in the increase in local recycling.
He noted that the plastics processing industry has generated jobs and scaled up entrepreneurial opportunities as plastic products are being recycled into new materials, raw materials, or energy.
“We can hardly imagine our everyday life without products made of plastics. They contribute greatly to more resource efficiency, whether in various industries, in domestic appliances or in medical equipment. This valuable material reduces the weight and sound of cars. It provides lightweight solutions, secures packaging, and insulates buildings, thus reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions,” he said.
He noted that plastics extend shelf life of food as well as reducing post-harvest loss in food.
“The $18 billion Quantum Petrochemical project in Lagos by the Dangote Group when completed in 2019 will have a nameplate capacity of 780,000 metric tonnes of PP and 500,000 metric tonnes of PE. The increase in investment is not surprising, given the surge in demand for plastics in Nigeria, particularly from packaging firms. We hope that these exhibitions will see valuable exchange between professionals across Nigeria, Africa and rest of the world,” he said.
Paul Marz, managing director Fairtrade said production facilities needs to increase to achieve a more diversified range of products just as Nigeria needs investment in the agric industry through the entire value chain of food and beverage processing and packaging.
“Nigeria is still heavily dependent on food imports. At the same time the country has the potential to become self-sufficient and to even become an export nation when it comes to agricultural production,” he said.