Executive Director of Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Olusegun Awolowo, has said Nigeria is targeting the export of cashew nuts worth $2billion in the two years as part of the measures to diversify the economy and move it away from over-dependence on oil.
Addressing newsmen in Abuja, Awolowo said already that Nigeria had exported cashew worth $106 million to Vietnam in 2014, adding that a four-year master plan was being developed by the agency to promote export of cashew.
According to him, “In cashew, we are working on a four –year development plan. We can make $2 billion in two years. “We will scale up the production of cashew and export its raw kernels and also do processing. “We have 13 National Strategic Export Products that will replace crude oil in terms of their revenue generation. The future of Nigeria is bright.” He reiterated the unwavering commitment of his agency to the diversification of the Nigerian economy, adding that currently the total earnings from the non-oil sectors of the economy stand at $2.9 billion.
He noted that the fall in the prices of oil in the international market has presented itself as a blessing in disguise, adding that all hands must be deck to diversify the economy under the Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan. “The fall of the oil prices did not meet us as a surprise; we have been working on the diversification of the economy under the Nigerian Industrial Revolution Master Plan. “The idea is to fully diversify Nigerian economy by 2020. We have spent time working on the zero oil policy. “Let us assume that we do not have oil, are we not going to live?” he queried.
On the packaging of Nigerian products particularly in the international market, he lamented that the country’s products have received a lot of rejects. He however, said following the concerted efforts made by his agency and other stakeholders that the quality and packaging have significantly improved of recent. As part of measures to entrench standards and high quality of exportable products, the NEPC boss explained that the Standards Organisation of Nigeria [SON] had established two international standard laboratories where goods and products for export could undergo test. Awolowo further called for more attention to the development of the agricultural sector, maintaining that agrarian revolution would always precede industrial revolution.