To boost revenue, the Nsukka Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NSCCIMA), is collaborating with the Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC), and Zenith Bank Nigeria to aid farmers in Nsukka Zone export scent leaves.
President of NSCCIMA, Chief Dan Ochi, disclosed this today in Nsukka during a 2-day training the Chambers organised for farmers, on how to plant, grow, harvest and package scent leaves to meet international standard for export.
“The aim of this training is to teach scent leaf farmers in Nsukka how to plant, grow, harvest and package scent leaf that will meet international standard for export.
“NSCCIMA is partnering NEPC and Zenith Bank to actualise this goal.
“While NEPC will help to promote and guide us so that the product will meet international standard, the bank will provide benefiting farmers with loans and business advice,” he said.
Ochi disclosed that the chamber had acquired over 70 hectres of land for farmers to grow scent leaf also known as basil leaf that would be exported.
In a remark, Mr Amold Jackson, the Regional Coordinator of NEPC, South East, said as part of measures to increase the country’s foreign earnings the council had been assisting Nigerians to export their products especially in agriculture.
“It’s no longer news that price of crude oil has fallen seriously in international market.
“NEPC is partnering Nsukka Chamber of Commerce to enable scent leaf farmers to produce scent leaf that will meet international standard for export.
“Scent leaf has many health benefits; because of COVID-19 its demand locally and internationally has increased.
“Farming scent leaf in commercial quantity and exporting it will help generate more money for Nsukka farmers hence the off-takers have assured us of available market for the product globally,” he said.
Jackson commended NSCCIMA for the initiative and Zenith Bank for accepting to provide the finance and business advice to the participating scent leaf farmers in Nsukka.
Also in a remark, Mrs Nkiru Osualla, the Regional Manager, Zenith Bank, South East, said the bank would provide soft loans and business advice for farmers to enable them to farm and export the product.
“Zenith Bank will continue to encourage and support activities that will boast the economy as well as increase the country’s foreign earnings,” she said.
Speaking, Mr Adebowale Aboderin, Chief Executive Officer, Truvis Agro Services Ltd., Lagos, one of the resource persons, said he had over 100 hectares of scent leaf farm and had been exporting it.
Aboderin said one of the problems with many Nigerian farmers was that they did not see farming as business.
“For you to succeed as a farmer you must see farming as business; when you put an input of N100 you should calculate what will be your output.
“If participants follow my guidelines, they will succeed because I have been in the business for many years; the demand for scent leaf locally and internationally is high.
“The scent leaf business is lucrative but it requires hard work because families, companies, hotels and industries use the leaf in many ways,” he said.
According to him, Scent leaf plant has short period of three months to mature for harvest, right from the day the seed is planted.
The CEO advised the farmers to follow the guidelines religiously in planting, growing, harvesting and packaging so as to meet the international standard for export.
“If the product fails to meet international standard, it will not be allowed for export by regulatory agencies; that is why you must follow all the approved guidelines,” he said.