On the opening day of the 8th edition of the international agro-food & plastprintpack exhibition and conference, fairtrade, the organiser and international trade show specialist, emphasised the daunting commerce influence Nigeria welds across the African market.
Citing key data insights in his opening remarks, the Managing Director of fairtrade Messe, Paul März, stated that Nigeria is the largest continental investor- ahead of Egypt, South Africa, Algeria, and Morocco in food and packaging technology with an impressive €346 million investment record in 2021.
März noted that the country’s market leadership has spurred global technology champions from 17 countries to visit and showcase adapted technologies and solutions for the Nigerian and West African market in the fields of agriculture, food + beverage processing, ingredients, plastics, printing, and packaging.
The exhibiting countries include Austria, Bulgaria, China, Côte d’Ivoire, Germany, France, India, Italy, Lebanon, the Netherlands, Nigeria, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Türkiye, Taiwan, United Kingdom, and the USA.
According to him: “Germany is once again participating with an official German Pavilion presented by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs in cooperation with the Association of the German Trade Fair Industry (AUMA) and supported by VDMA Food Processing & Packaging Machinery.”
To shore up opportunities for more local content during the annual trade show and foster intercontinental collaborations, leading exhibitors, Germany, Italy and Netherlands have indicated their readiness to collaborate with Nigeria in eradicating Post Harvest Losses across sub-Saharan Africa, whilst boosting food security and bolstering agricultural value chains.
While delivering a speech with the theme: “Delivering Food and Nutrition Security Through Cold Chain In Africa,” at the 5th West African Cold Chain Summit and Exhibition (WACCSE 2023), the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment (FMITI), Chief Adeniyi Adebayo, explained that agriculture is arguably the most important sector in the Nigerian economy, because it is a source of raw materials for the country’s Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, employing 60 percent of Nigerian’s workforce, including many rural women, and contributing almost 30 percent of the country’s GDP.
Adebayo stated that any improvement in the agricultural commodity value chains, including addressing the reduction of post-harvest losses (PHL) of perishables, is fundamental and would have a positive impact on Nigeria and the larger African economy.
“You will agree with me that output from this cold chain summit and exhibition is auspicious for the wellbeing of Nigeria and Africa; with its goal of finding solution to post-harvest losses (PHL) in Nigeria and across sub-Saharan Africa, identified as one of the major problems facing our agricultural sector.
Adebayo added, “Recent studies report PHL data as high as 60 percent, especially for food and vegetables; resulting in low income for the producers and high price points for the produce.”
In his own submission, the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Nigeria, Mr Weert Börner said the German government is ready to support agro-food in Nigeria to boost food security and expand innovations in the sub-sector.
The Consul-General stressed that the German government regards food security as one of its key priorities locally and internationally, reiterating that elimination of PHL would be key to food sufficiency in agriculture in Nigeria and sub-Saharan Africa.
Also speaking at the event, Mr Alexander Isong, the President of the Organisation for Technology Advancement of Cold Chain in West Africa (OTACCWA), rued that cold chain as an industry has seen very little penetration into the economy, limiting its potential to significant revolutionalise agro-tech in Nigeria.
He said: “Cold chain has a multiplier effect on the economy which helps a country in delivering on goods and services that are healthy, certified and helps in the storage and transportation of what a country produces on its farms and safe transport of pharmaceutical products to maintain their efficacy and potency.”
Other speakers include Mr. Jean-Michel Perret, Managing Director, Bureau Veritas Nigeria; Dr Emmanuel Ijewere, President Nigerian Agribusiness Group (NABG), Ugo Boni, Consul General, Italy and Her Excellency, Dr Sadiya Umar Farouq, Honourable Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.
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