At least fifty Anambra youths drawn from critical sectors of the production population on Wednesday, participated in a one-day training programme on exportation of locally-made products held in Awka, the state capital.
The programme organized by the Nigeria Export Promotion Council, NEPC, Anambra State, exposed the youths to various exportable products, processes of exportation and requirements/ standards for export.
Participants include youths in Agriculture, entrepreneurship, craft among other areas.
Addressing the youths, the Anambra State Head of NEPC, Mrs Jane Ohiri explained that the programme was to sensitize Anambra youths on the activities of NEPC and exportable products.
She said the sensitization initiative was evolved to address the thinking among the young people that only bigger companies can produce for export and to teach them how to package their products for global acceptance.
“We observed that most youths are not thinking of going into export because they think that export is for big companies.
“But we want to let them know that they can start small.
“From our export for survival initiative, we decided to develop a plan of zero export, to create awareness and follow up youths from the zero level of not knowing anything at all about export, to understanding the opportunities that abound in the export business.
“You can be a tailor designing something nice or a farmer producing food and you can export it.
“Even if you cannot export them, someone can offtake it from you.
Ohiri, who noted that Nigerian youths can no longer continue to wait for white collar jobs while roaming the streets.
She said when the youths are sensitized to explore the opportunities that the export initiative avails, the country would have succeeded in reducing the unemployed population.
“For us as the NEPC, ours is to create the awareness, chart the course for the youths to go into this business and to also provide technical assistance, mentorship and guidance for them to succeed.
“It is our hope that youth involvement in export will yield alternative foreign exchange earner for the country’s economy post-oil.
“The madness in crude oil is coming to an end and we are going into non-oil revenue.
“With NEPC being at the vanguard of getting our people back to where we were in the 60s when we earned foreign exchange through agricultural products, Nigeria would find it difficult transitioning from an oil economy to an agro economy,” she stated.
One of the facilitators for the sensitization programme, Miss Chidinma Oramali said the idea to target the youths was because they have the vigor and capacity to drive the export business.
According to her, the programme is a shift from a similar programme organized last year, which had mostly as its participants, older people.
“When I attended this programme last year, I observed that the bulk of participants were older persons and they expressed interest in getting younger people to participate.
“Youths are the future and it is the youths that have the energy to do the export business but without the right information, they cannot do anything.
“Today, the youths were exposed to every exportable item in the export industry and we have seen that there are so much opportunities for us.
“That is why I am happy that this programme happened today.
“There are those we call the offtakers and because most of the youths may not be able to produce the required quantity to export, they are very important in the business.
“With the support of the NEPC, telling us how to meet the export standards and other regulations, I do not think there can be any encumbrances to Anambra youths earning foreign exchange through export,” she enthused.
In his view, one of the participants, Ilo Izuchukwu, who is an art designer, described the promme as long-expected.
In his words; “We have been having the challenge of exporting our products and we thank God that this is coming now that Nigeria needs to transform from a consuming economy to a producing economy.
“This is because after producing, the next step is exportation.
“We have benefitted immensely from this sensitization programme and the knowledge will help us explore the opportunities in the export initiative.
“We are going to register with the Council.
“We have learned how to package our products and now that we are groomed on exporting them, I think we are good to go.”