The Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC), has begun promotion of pigeon pea production and value chain in Kaduna State following its huge demand in the international market.
Mr Kasim Ahmed, the Director and Trade Promotion Advisor, Kaduna State Export Assistance Office, NEPC, said this in Kaduna on Wednesday at one-day capacity building to improve pigeon pea production for export.
Ahmed said that global demand for the crop had continued to grow, stressing that Nigeria was yet to tap from its export benefits in spite potential for massive production.
He said that the sensitisation was aimed at building the capacity of pigeon pea farmers, processors, and exporters in Kaduna state on modern techniques to boost production in line with international standard.
Ahmed said that India was currently the largest producer of the pigeon pea in the world followed by Kenya, adding that Nigeria’s potential had remained untapped.
“It is very important, therefore, for Nigerians to take advantage and leverage on the export potential of this crop to earn foreign exchange.
“Nigeria has the potential of becoming one of the largest producers of the crop.
“This is why we organised this programme to bridge information and knowledge gap on modern techniques and best practices that would improve production capacity and quality.’’
Mr Zacham Bayei, the Senior Trade Promotion Officer and Head of Product, Market Development Unit of the Export Assistance Office, NEPC, also harped on the need for farmers to key into pigeon pea production.
According to him, the whole idea of the sensitisation is to promote pigeon pea production and Value Chain in Kaduna State for export, as India, South-East Asia are major export destinations of the product.
“One of the mandates of NEPC is to identify, develop, and promote non-oil products that have export value.
“If more farmers and exporters key into the production and export of pigeon pea, it will go a long way in attracting high foreign exchange into the country.
“This in the long run will improve the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and create jobs for Nigerian youths.
One of the resource persons, Mr Emmanuel Nehemiah of Nehemiah Foundation International, noted the absence of large-scale pigeon pea farmers that could meet India’s demand for the product and other international market.
Nehemiah said that periodic workshops, seminars, and training programmes would go a long way in encouraging and boosting the value chain production of pigeon pea and similar untapped crops in espite of their export potential.
He advised producers, marketers, processors, and exporters of pigeon pea to establish a strong national association of pigeon pea to access support and leverage on collective strength.
Nehemiah also called on the smallholder farmers to form pigeon pea cooperative networks at regional, state, and local levels where pigeon pea was being produced. (NAN)