13 airports have been designated as perishable cargo airports as strategies to transform the aviation sector into a major revenue earner for the country.
These airports which are in proximity to food baskets will be developed with international standard perishable cargo facilities to enhance their operations.
At present, based on expression of interest from the private sector and State governments, the following cities have been prioritized to host perishable cargo terminals; Abuja, Akure, Calabar, Ilorin, Jalingo, Jos, Kano, Lagos, Makurdi, Minna, Owerri, Port Harcourt and Uyo.
State governments have also been encouraged to partner with the Federal government to revive smaller airports, particularly for taxi operations, tourism and cargo operations which could benefit domestic and regional economic development.
This is to enable them key into the over N250 billion annual air freight export market out of Africa. Countries like Kenya, South Africa, Benin, Cote d’ivoire, Ghana, Senegal, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Egypt are participating in the trading in commodities such as fruits, fresh fish, vegetables and flowers while Nigeria, which produces these produce in abundance, records zero participation.
The strategy is therefore to create the much needed storage infrastructure in view of the large volume involved and to facilitate the evacuation of agricultural produce to domestic markets, in conformity with international standards.
The European Union (EU) is the main market for African exporters, accounting for more than 40% of total exports, followed by the US with 20%. Intra-regional trade represented only 8% of the total, with South Africa as the leading exporter to the region with 21% of the total.
In recent times, the more dynamic destinations for African products are China, with 27.5% annual average growth registered over a decade-long period and India, growing by 19.5% during the same period.
The development of Economic Free Trade and Export Processing Zones will be targeted alongside cargo airports and afro-allied industrial clusters, based on local opportunities and the state’s competitive and comparative advantage in agriculture production.
The Nigerian aviation sector is establishing closer co-operation with Federal Ministry of Agriculture and State Governments for concerted and strategic focus to this efforts.
– Yakubu Dati, Coordinating GM, Aviation Parastatals
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