The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Aviation Matters, Ann Ene-Etta, has outlined the means by which the government is trying to ensure the successful exportation of farm produce through the aviation sector and the Nigerian Fresh Produce Transformation Programme, which would bring an end to the huge wastage experienced in the food sector.
Ene-Etta made this known during an interview on Sunrise Daily at the on-going 19th Nigerian Economic Summit which focuses on the agricultural sector.
She disclosed that 70% of farms produce in the country rot before it reaches the consumers, a trend she assured government is working to tackle via the Nigerian Fresh Produce Transformation Programme because “the essence of it, is for us to ensure that we put the processing facilities in place” as well as the storage, refrigeration facilities “which will assist the farmer to preserve produce that is rotting away”.
The Nigerian Fresh Produce Transformation Programme, an initiative of President Jonathan which was launched in May 2013, is managed by an inter-ministerial committee made up of the ministry of agriculture, water resources, national planning and finance,and it is headed by the Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah.
The programme aims to provide food security, facilitate the exportation of farm produce and create jobs.
The National Orientation Agency was tasked to ensure that farmers are aware of the programme as the ‘tempting’ offer would encourage the farmers to ensure that their produce meet the required specifications and standards for exportation.
The programme also seeks to cause a great reduction in the percentage of post-harvest produce which does not have self-sustainance.
The programme will help local farmers increase their production; she said, and it will also help improve the rural areas, create more jobs and increase the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The aviation sector comes to play as there are 14 perishable cargo terminals all over the country, which farm produce collectors can use in transporting the goods to other states or countries.
This process, she said, would breed more ambition in the market and attract more investors into the sector.