The Nigerian Export Promotion Council says Nigerians have yet to explore the opportunities in the non-oil export business, especially in agriculture.

It therefore called on chambers of commerce and industries across the South-West to educate their members on how to utilise the opportunities.

The NEPC stated these at a seminar on opportunities in non-oil export business in Nigeria. The seminar was organised by the Ibadan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, in collaboration with the NEPC.

The council said it was unfortunate that the region, over the years, did not build on the efforts of its past leaders who used proceeds from agriculture to develop the area.

The NEPC South-West Regional Coordinator, Mr. Babatunde Faleke, said that the past leaders, through agriculture, made the South- West a pacesetter region that later gained global recognition.

According to Faleke, some  items of agricultural produce with competitive advantage that have been identified by the NEPC are soya beans, sugar, cotton, yarn, palm oil, rice, nitrogenous fertilisers and ammonia, hides and leather, cocoa, gold and petrochemical.

He said, “It is no more news that the oil sector alone cannot sustain our economy. It is unfortunate that we had neglected the legacies of our ancestors and now the reality has dawned on us.

“Proceeds from agriculture were used by our fathers to develop the South-West but we are still where we are. That is why we are calling on chambers in the region to take advantage of the export potential in the various agricultural produce to generate income for themselves and their members.

“To achieve that, all the chambers need to do is to take up one of the numerous identified products with export potential, scale up production and earn some foreign exchange.”

The council’s regional coordinator added that there were ready markets for the identified produce as long as exporters met the required production and packaging standards.

Meanwhile, the NEPC said it had developed ‘One State, One Product’ project as a means of promoting non-oil products for export purposes.

It said this in Port Harcourt during its export seminar tagged, ‘Legal aspect of export contract’.

The NEPC noted that it was better for each state to be associated with a particular product for export purposes.

In his address, the Executive Director, NEPC, Mr. Olusegun Awolowo, said the seminar was timely considering the drive by the government to diversify the nation’s economy.

Speaking through the Regional Coordinator, NEPC South-South Centre, Mr. Michael Nwogu, the ED said that the project was aimed at producing competitive products.

Awolowo said that the project was meant to create a chain in the state with the sole reason of transforming the economic status of the state.

“In pursuing aggressive export promotion programmes and policies, the council has already developed among others, the One State, One Product project. The project is aimed at producing competitive products and utilising local resources in which a particular state has comparative advantage.

“The OSOP model starts from creating a network in the state with a vision of transforming the socio-economic outlook of the state to the one that can produce more value added products. This is to ensure that such products compete effectively in the global market

“The project is rooted in harnessing local resources including raw materials, commodities, technology and human resources in a manner that creates a sense of self-reliance and ownership. This unveils the

One of the lawyers at the NEPC, who was a resource person at the event, Mrs. Julie Onmoke, said that the seminar was designed to sensitise exporters to the need of knowing the legal angle of export contract.