The Head of EU delegation to Nigeria and the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, Michel Arrion, during a press conference to commemorate the 40 years of EU-Nigeria partnership on Wednesday in Abuja has urged the Nigerian Government to increase the export of agricultural produces like rubber, cocoa and palm oil to the EU countries.
“There are potential exports like rubber for instance for tiles that you could certainly develop. We will be delighted to import and to buy more rubber from Nigeria; the problem is that the production is very small. We will be delighted to buy more cocoa from Nigeria. We are buying most of our cocoa from Ivory Coast and Ghana, while not from Nigeria?” he said.
However, he encouraged Nigeria to be competitive, especially in the pricing of the agricultural produces. Also, he stated that the competitiveness of Nigerian products is being affected by the exchange rate of the naira/dollar and euro which is not reflecting the reality of the situation.
“You (Nigeria) have to be competitive, I mentioned palm oil; I see a potential market for palm oil exportation from Nigeria to EU if the prices are competitive. Today, they are not. Malaysia for instance, offers more competitive price, so Nigeria has to work on the competitiveness of the country’s products.”
He said there were several factors that contributed to competitiveness which included the costs of production, labour, land, energy, among others.
“When your refineries of palm oil have to produce their own energy instead of being connected to the grid, you are less competitive than others,” he said.