SAHCOL boss calls for more support to farmers
Mr Rizwan Kadri, the Managing Director, Skyway Aviation Handling Company Ltd.(SAHCOL), has called for more support to farmers to boost export of agricultural products in the country.
Kadri made the call in an interview with newsmen on Thursday in Lagos.
He said Nigeria had not been able to maximise its potential in agriculture due to lack of infrastructure, preservation facilities, improved seedlings and packaging.
Kadri said that farmers had to export yams to Ghana where they would be certified as “made-in-Ghana” before the product could be allowed into Europe, thereby depriving Nigeria of foreign exchange earnings.
“The farmers are ready, but infrastructure such as good roads and preservation facilities for perishable items should be provided by the Federal Government.
“Also, government has to get into the global certification process for goods produced in Nigeria and provide credit facilities to farmers to increase their productivity.
“We have vegetables, mangoes, yams and pineapples. These are there for export, but they need to be properly packaged to be accepted globally, ” he said.
According to him, SAHCOL, as service provider, has aligned itself with the vision of the government and was ready to offer the needed support.
“The best we can do is to keep our handling rate low, which is just about N28; which is just a small amount we spend to recover our cost.
“We are encouraging export of perishable goods by upgrading our warehouse facilities because at the end of the day we want to reach the poor farmers,” he said.
He said the company was handling between 30 and 35 tonnes of export cargo daily which could be improved upon.
He said that in spite of the scarcity of foreign exchange, the company was able to handle 35 million tonnes of cargo in 2016.
Kadri said that foreign airlines pulling out of some routes had affected the revenue of ground handling companies including SAHCOL.
He said the plan by the government to close the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, for six weeks to repair its runway was a step in the right direction.
However, he said government ought to have taken the stakeholders into consideration because of the effect on their businesses.
“As it is now, none of the foreign airline wants to fly to Kaduna. This is going to affect our revenue because if they don’t fly, we will lose revenue,” Kadri said.