An agricultural expert, Prof. Simon Iritwange, on Friday canvassed for the harmonisation and simplification of procedures in Nigerian ports for speedy shipment of perishable commodities.
Iritwange, also a Senior Lecturer at the University of Agriculture Makurdi, made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
Iritwange said this was imperative to avoid rejection of produce and economic loss at the international markets to enhance economic growth.
“Government needs to urgently streamline and simplify farm produce export linkages rules and procedures in the spirit of economic growth and easy access to exporters.
“If this is achieved it will in a strong term continue to eliminate all investment impediments, bottlenecks, leakages, deliberate inefficiencies and corruption,” the expert said.
Iritwange said the produce export stride showed the confidence investors in the country’s economy and a move by agriculturists to compliment government’s call to enhance value addition.
Iritwange, who is also the acting president of Yam Farmers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria (YFPMAN), said perishable items were not expected to stay for too long at the port.
He added that the Apapa gridlock was part of the complications while the Carter and 3rd Mainland bridges were encumbrances to loading facilities.
Iritwange said there was a strong indication that government and farmers would lose massive revenue if urgent steps were not taken.
“Most of the exporters of agricultural produce don’t always o meet their supply targets and time at the international market.
“Most of the produce stay too long at the ports as a result of the cumbersome procedure at the ports leading to expiration, contamination and loss in value of some of the produce,” the expert said.
He commended the efforts of the legislator for considering the repeal of the law on exportation.
Iritwange said the legislators were working to fast track the policy formulation and execution so as to improve the agricultural sector.
He also commended the designation of the Ikorodu lighter terminal for exportation of agricultural produce.
The expert debunked claims that Nigerian yam exports were rejected, saying that they were not rejected but some were damaged during the process of harvest, storage and transport.
“Let me put the record straight; only 20 per cent of yams were damaged,” said Iritwange.