Indigenous courier firm, ABX World Limited, has announced it is entering into a partnership deal with Arik Air and Skyway Aviation Ground Handling Company (SAHCOL) for the commencement of export of agro-allied products from Nigeria. The deal, if strictly implemented, holds the prospect of unlocking the nation’s agricultural sector leading to the export of goods worth about $52 billion annually.
Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of ABX World Nigeria, Captain John Okakpu, who briefed journalists in Lagos described the partnership as “a revolutionary project that will leapfrog Nigeria’s agricultural sector while also boosting its supply chain industry, involving transportation, logistics, aviation and packaging, creating jobs in the process for thousands of unemployed youths.”
Okakpu said that both Arik Air and SAHCOL are Nigerian firms with ACC3 and RA3 certifications respectively from the EU, noting that the certification confers a high level of acceptability and trust of the EU countries on the quality of goods that would be exported out of Nigeria. It also means that such goods have passed through global standards and that all laws governing such deals were adhered to.
“We are etching to reposition Nigeria’s agro-allied products exports to markets across Europe and the rest of the world,” said Okakpu.
“Assuming one million out of over three million Nigerians living in the United Kingdom alone make purchases of food items exported from Nigeria at the cost of $100 weekly even with the current exchange rate, Nigeria cannot make less than $52 billion from this sub-sector annually. That’s the projection,” he added.
According to him, under the platform, over 20 million jobs are set to be created on the provision of $0.50 (N100) per kilogramme of agricultural produce for airfreight transportation.
“This is an avenue to brining all stakeholders together to integrate their individual roles in this sector. ABX World’s strategy is to generate over 50,000 tons of agricultural produce annually for export, while targeting produce such as pumpkin leave, fresh ginger and garlic, white and red sweet potatoes, washed bitter leaf, among others,” he said.
“It is going to be a very painful task and journey that will take a lot of time and hard work because the attitude of some government officials are discouraging the system from moving forward. But the bottom line is that we are no longer talking about classroom theories. Our goal is to champion agro-allied export in Nigeria. We don’t want to lead because we are already leading,” he added.
Stressing the need for President Muhammadu Buhari’s government to jettison his interest on the oil and gas sector, which is already facing a bleak future globally, Okakpu said government must take urgent steps to establish purpose-driven cargo facilities, strategically built around passenger airports to attract and sustain airlines’ interest in agro-allied export business.