The FMARD Capacity Support Project, implemented by Sahel Consulting, held its first local training for selected technical staff of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. The 4-day training themed ‘Leveraging Digital Innovation for Efficiency in Processing and Export’ was held from the 6th – 9th June 2022, at the Hawthorn Suites, Garki-Abuja. The training was attended by 39 participants selected from technical departments in FMARD Headquarters-Abuja, and 9 other state offices including Oyo, Gombe, Plateau, Bauchi, Anambra, Kaduna, Ondo, Sokoto, and Kano.

The training involved interactive lecture sessions, group activities, ICT skills strengthening sessions, and field visits to two local food processing and exporting businesses in Abuja; First Class Refreshment Limited and Cassanovas Nigeria. Participants engaged these stakeholders firsthand to understand their business models challenges. 

Participants were taken through robust modules that included Assessing Agri Supply Chains and the Role of Stakeholders as Drivers of Sustainable Export, Easing Export Barriers: Policies and Regulatory Reforms, International Trade Agreements, viable supply chains, The role of FMARD in Shaping policies, building strategic partnerships and the local farmers’ economic profile to drive agricultural export, and Developing Inclusive and Equitable supply chain systems in driving food security and exportation growth in Nigeria – AACE Foods as a case study, among others.

Below were some key takeaways shared by participants from the training program:

  • For FMARD and Nigeria in general to maximize outcomes from policies in place, national interest must override personal interest. This would work to ensure that policy summersault does not halt activities or cancel promising initiatives working for the greater good. Also, as a staff of FMARD, one must align their roles to the overall goal of the organization.
  • FMARD must be intentional in understanding the effect of global events on the Nigerian food ecosystem. An example is the effect of the Ukraine-Russia war on the price of wheat and subsequently a lot of products in Nigeria.
  • State governments in Nigeria have to actively analyze and develop income-generating opportunities. With the support and direction of FMARD, State governments must prioritize certain commodities and provide systems to enhance the production and export of such commodities.
  • FMARD must seek out partnerships with other agencies in the export sector for collaboration and synergy so as to make the certification, licensing, and export easier for Nigerian entrepreneurs. In addition to this, FMARD must also be conversant with opportunities in the financial sector to support farmers and entrepreneurs. An example is the RT200 Fx program by CBN which incentivizes the export of proceeded value-added products.
  • The diaspora population is not fully utilized by the Nigerian export sector, as this is a vehicle to position and make accessible high-quality Nigerian products around the world.
  • Export readiness was identified as a major barrier for Nigerian entrepreneurs. FMARD must be instrumental in creating and adopting a model that shows the private sector what works and where to channel investment into. For example, the creation of a staple commodity processing zones where processing, packaging, certification, and licensing can be done.

For unlimited access to training slides and videos from all of the FMARD Capacity Support training programs please visit the FMARD e-learning portal, and contact the FMARD ICT team for your login details.