The Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) has collaborated with the Ekiti State Government on the development and packaging of banana in the state for export.
Mr Segun Awolowo, the Chief Executive Officer of NEPC, announced the partnership at a stakeholders’ forum, held in Ado Ekiti on Wednesday.
Represented by Mr Samuel Oyeyipo, the NEPC Regional Coordinator for the South West Regional Office, Awolowo said that NEPC, in collaboration with the Ekiti State Committee on Export Promotion, had identified cassava and banana as the main and alternate products under the council’s One-State-One-Product (OSOP) programme.
Under the programme, which is an off-shot of the zero-oil-plan of NEPC, Awolowo noted that each state of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory were expected to select a product and another as an alternate product for development and packaging for export.
The executive director commended the state for being the only state in the country that had selected banana for packaging for export.
According to him, the global total value of banana in 2019 stood at over $14.7 billion with an average annual growth rate of over 11.3 per cent.
He added that the global outlooks for banana had been on the rise and would continue on the upward surge in years to come.
This situation, he said, provides a unique opportunity for Ekiti State to become a global player on the product if properly harnessed.
The NEPC boss assured Ekiti and other state government of the readiness of NEPC to partner with them in the economic diversification drives.
He appreciated Gov. Kayode Fayemi and the entire people of Ekiti state for supporting the opening of an NEPC Export Assistance Office in Ado Ekiti.
Awolowo believed that the presence of NEPC office in the state would further strengthen the existing relations between it and the state government.
In his remarks, Chief Olumuyiwa Olumilua, the state Commissioner for Trade, Investments and Industries commended NEPC for the stakeholders’ forum.
Olumilua itemised various actions being taken by the government to attract both foreign and local investments into the state.
The commissioner added that the state was ready to partner with any initiative that would boost the agricultural and industrial revolution of the state.
The event drew participants from across the banana value chain including farmers, government officials, non-governmental organisations, business individuals, academics and researchers as well as Nigerian Institute of Horticultural Research (NIHORT).