Skyway Aviation Handling Company PLC (SAHCO) has stated that it has invested heavily in storage facilities and logistic support such that Nigerian farmers would have a hitch-free export opportunity in the country.
The Managing Director/CEO of SAHCO PLC Mr. Basil Agboarumi stated this during a meeting with ABX World and Agro Allied solutions team at the company’s Corporate Headquarters in Lagos.
‘’SAHCO PLC has one of the best warehouses in Africa and the best in West Africa. SAHCO has invested so much on equipment. In cargo, we have just commissioned the purchase of new scanning machines. Also, we just acquired state-of-the-art High loader (LAM35) which has the capacity to load and offload up to 40 tons at a go,’’ said Agboarumi.
Also speaking, Mr. Jide Kafidipe, Head of Cargo Services, SAHCO PLC, noted that 75% of agricultural produce goes to waste, saying ‘’SAHCO has a massive cold storage facility in readiness for taking care of perishable items which will be a good starting point to curb the wastage. The facility is capable of handling 16 to 35 aircraft pallets and SAHCO PLC is also planning to invest in packaging especially of perishable goods.’’
Kafidipe stressed further that one of the reasons farmers are not taking advantage of the export facilities is because of too many bottlenecks caused by too many agencies that seem to be repeating the checks that other agencies have done.
According to Deputy Comptroller of Customs Abdulhameed Mohammed, Head of SAHCO Export, ‘’it might be difficult to do away with so many agencies especially Clean Certificate Inspection (CCI) among others because Customs examination is based on the investigations of other agencies. This is because Customs is an enforcer of law and policies and exporters should know the procedures to avoid rejection of their produce.
He stated that there were very important Customs’ documentations. ‘’If all these are not addressed, aircrafts will always go back empty from Nigeria,’’ he said.
Earlier in his words, Captain John Okakpu, MD/CEO ABX World and Agro Allied Solutions, said Nigeria has over twelve products that are of export value and the meeting was to look for ways to move the country forward instead of relying on oil.
He was of the opinion that Nigeria is blessed with good weather and good soil, unlike some countries that export agro products despite severe weather conditions or bad soil, saying that agencies documentations are cumbersome and cause serious setbacks. In his words “In US and Europe, the agencies are not as numerous, and the process is not as cumbersome. It takes an average of 72 hours to do documentations here in Nigeria after which the produce must have gone bad.’’
Calling on the government to investigate the policies that make things easy for exporters of agro produce, Captain John Okakpu advised farmers to make their farms visible to the world. He assured farmers that they would soon find it easy to export because his company is in talks with the government to simplify export of farm produce.