NIGERIA QUEUES BEHIND G8 COUNTRIES ON NON-OIL EXPORT
By Patience Saghana
Stakeholders in the Nigerian Tea Industry on Thursday began deliberations on the development of a national policy on tea at a one-day forum in Abuja The stakeholders, from the private and public sectors, are deliberating on a document that would facilitate the formulation of a draft tea policy.
Mr David Adulugba, the Director General of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), said at the opening of the forum that in spite of Nigeria''s huge potential in tea production, the challenges of funding and obsolete equipment were hampering the effective production of tea.
'We, as a nation, especially Taraba and Adamawa states, stand to gain tremendously from the huge potential that could accrue to the country from the export of tea. 'If other tea producing nations that are not as endowed as Nigeria in tea production could earn much revenue in foreign exchange, why not Nigeria?
'The great challenges facing the growth of the tea industry in the Mambilla Plateau are energy and declining capacity utilisation and stakeholders are to address them at this meeting,'' Adulugba said. Adulugba, who was represented by the Director of Administration and Human Resources of the Council, Alhaji Aminu Koko, expressed the hope that at the end of the forum, a proposed tea policy document would have been formulated, with a view to achieving a sustainable tea industry. Mr Christian Pangaribuam, an official of the Embassy of Indonesia, said that his country had been a net exporter of tea in the past two centuries.
'The Dutch introduced it to Indonesia and it is an industry that is very developed and we can bring our experience to bear in Nigeria,'' Pangaribuam said. He said that with the joint Commission on Bilateral Cooperation signed in September, the two countries were poised to expand their cooperation in all fields, including tea production.
Pangaribuam said that for Nigeria to develop good tea, it needed adequate capital, modern machinery and marketing strategy. The forum is the outcome of the National Tea Conference held in July in Mambilla, Taraba, which called for a draft National Tea Policy to address the challenges facing tea production.
The forum was attended by representatives of PHCN, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Bank of Industry, the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), National Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry Mines and Agriculture and UNIDO, among others