The Nigerian Export-Import Bank and Katsina State Government have agreed to establish sesame and hibiscus flower processing hubs for production, processing, and export of the products.
The Managing Director of NEXIM, Abba Bello said this during a meeting with the governor of the state, Aminu Masari when he led a delegation of some government officials to the bank.
The delegation was in NEXIM to fast-track the release of the remaining 40 percent of its N2bn loan facility after completing the 60 percent of the requirement to access the N2bn export development fund.
According to Masari, the money is meant for the development of the rural areas that make the commodity available. The governor said the state government was developing 800 hectares of economic green zone purposely for export. He said the state partnered NEXIM Bank to put the final infrastructure in place to attract more investors.
The NEXIM Bank boss said the move was in line with the Federal Government’s one state, one product program to support the value addition of agricultural products before they are exported.
Bello said, “The partnership is targeting to create about 1,000 jobs directly and another over 5,000 indirect jobs – along the agricultural value chain. The process is designed to involve all players in the sesame and hibiscus production value chain: from the farms, processing hubs to logistics and packaging.”
“This (partnership) becomes more important than Katsina is an export route, especially with the coming of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement. We must prepare ourselves and our economic and industrial zone for such purposes.
“All of these are doable and NEXIM Bank is positioned to support states that are willing to develop their export basket. We will do whatever is needed to ensure we grow the export basket from Katsina State.”
The Executive Director, Business Development at NEXIM, Stella Okotete said 1,200 farmers had been identified to be sponsored to grow sesame up to international standard in Katsina State for export.
She said, “We believe that if we can have more business owners, and entrepreneurs come up to sign up for our project drive, we can actually create more than the 1,200 jobs currently secured with the 1,200 farmers.”
Apart from the N1bn seed fund per state, Okotete disclosed that NEXIM was currently designing an aggregator export program with the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending.
The export program would help to identify aggregators who will feed the farmers in the field with the needed support, including seedlings, insecticides to grow export commodities.