President of the Nigerian-Belgian Commercial Information and Documentation Centre (NBCIDC), Tunde Okoya, said the Nigerian Ports Authority had concluded arrangements to sign a Technical Collaboration.
This is in agreement with the Port of Antwerp, Belgium in a bid to increse the export of Nigerian fruits to the European countries.
Speaking to NAN, in Lagos, Okoya said the agreement would make more Nigerian fruits to be re-exported from Port of Antwerp, Belgium to other EU countries.
The president said his organization was working at creating direct access for more fruits from Nigeria to the Port of Antwerp and then to other European countries.
He further stated: “We believe that if Nigeria is able to increase production and we are able to reduce post-harvest losses, we can be sure that there are waiting for markets in Europe for our fruits”.
Okoya said the Trade Mission that would sign the agreement would be composed of selected Nigerians from the Agro, maritime, port services, infrastructure and those in the power sectors.
He added that when his organization facilitated a meeting between Nigerian financial institutions and their Belgium counterparts, it was to have access to foreign investments; this time around, his organization had facilitated a meeting between Nigerian processors of agro-products and their Belgian counterparts so they can find access to European markets.
Executive Secretary of Agricultural Fresh Produce Growers and Exporters Association of Nigeria (AFPGEAN), Akin Sawyer, said between 55-72% of fresh produce-fruits and vegetables- do perish before consumption because they needed to be refrigerated after harvest to preserve them.
More so, the AGFPGEAN Secretary said although Nigeria had five times the arable land Kenya has, but that Kenya has continued to earn about $1b in fresh produce export while Nigeria struggles to earn $10 million annually from fresh produce due to lack of storage and poor infrastructures.
Mr. Sawyer said security operatives also pose a problem for transporting fresh produce through the roadblocks they usually mount because to him, time is valuable in the life of fresh produce.