The Nigerian Aviation Handling Company Plc (NAHCO Aviance) is set to support the Federal Government in its determination to diversify the economy by providing the infrastructure that would boost food export businesses.
In an interview with Nairametrics, the Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, NAHCO, Mrs. Tokunbo Fagbemi, explained that the company’s agric export business has a huge potential as it is one of the pet projects of the new management.
She said, “We are providing facilities that will encourage cold storage management. In a few months, we are creating cold storage hub for both existing and potential clients, including our new clients that want to transship their goods through Nigeria with a bit of packaging.
“Our findings from the airlines revealed that a lot of agricultural products exported are destroyed by the time they get to their destinations, which is largely caused by inadequate storage facilities. We just got an approval to develop a facility in our packaging warehouse, which will tackle that challenge because it will help exporters to package their products at a particular temperature rate to reduce the incidence of rejection in the international markets.
“We also want to provide a CEIV Pharma, which is a project that is designed by IATA, to support the movement of pharmaceutical products via air. What that means is that at every point of the movement of the goods, whether vaccines or drugs, the temperature is maintained.”
According to her, the company was also expanding its processing area. “Most of our processes are governed by treaties signed by security regulations. So what we do is go back, look at all these processes and run our warehouse the best way we can,” she added.
Fagbemi agreed with the Federal Government that agriculture must be seen as a business and haven for investment and integrating food production, storage, food processing and industrial manufacturing to establish the linkage necessary in the agricultural commodity value chain.
According to her, the value chain must consider the role of players from food production to consumption and design to empower the smallholder producers to ensure that processors have good quality products for consumption.
“Our new equipment and technology would enable us to improve on its offerings to its clients, as NAHCO had recently invested about N1.9 billion in equipment. The overhaul would help to replace ageing equipment which had increased maintenance cost due to high utilisation of fuel.
The Chief Operating Officer of the Company, Mr Herbert Odika pointed out that NAHCO’s strict adherence to global standards stands the Company out in all its operations.
He said, “We have a duty as the leading ground handler in the West Africa sub-region to set standards. We won’t shy away from playing this leadership role in all our operations including the way we process our exports.”
It would be recalled that Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo had recently urged all stakeholders to be involved in the agriculture sector as it is one of the cardinal points of the Economic Recovery Growth Plan of the Federal Government with an emphasis on developing and export-led economy.
He said, “Agriculture sector was to exceed the one trillion dollars and create access to capital by investors to accessing value chain. Our agenda is to guarantee the vibrancy of the sector.
Agriculture must be seen as a business and haven for investment and integrating food production, storage, food processing, and industrial manufacturing to establish the linkage necessary in the agricultural commodity value chain.”
Osinbajo added that the value chain must consider the role of players from food production to consumption and design to empower the smallholder producers to ensure that processors have good quality products for consumption.