Ashiru stated this at the on-going Food and Beverage (FAB) West Africa Expo in Lagos, added that the government needs to encourage more local production by creating enabling environment, that would help manufacturing firms and other businesses thrive.
“Production must outstrip local consumption before the nation can comfortably export. I believe that we must meet the local needs first before we start exporting goods out of the country, he said while declaring the expo
Declaring the opening of West Africa’s largest international Food and Beverage (FAB) expo, he said : “If you don’t meet the local needs and you encourage too much exportation of food out of the country, our staple food will become very expensive, because everybody producing garri, for instance, will start producing for export purpose. But once we produce in excess, it will be a good avenue to start exportation.
“In Nigeria today, we produce an average of 45 million metric tons of cement, and what we are consuming locally is about 30 million metric tons. So, we have cement in excess and we can afford to export 15 million metric tons. So, the point is that we must protect our local industries first to ensure that our people are satisfied and once we do that, then, we can start exporting.”
He further stated that the foreign exhibitors, numbering over 150, have been encouraged to locate their industries in Nigeria and also source their raw materials from within the country.
“Cocoa is in Nigeria; you can source for your cocoa here. There are many cocoa industries that you can partner with,” he stated.
Also speaking, the Managing Director, B2B Events, and organizer of the exhibition, Jamie Hill, said the exhibition will enable Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), benefit from the annual platform and showcase what they have to offer, alongside the local and international power houses in the food and beverage sector.
He said: “By offering local SMEs the opportunity to participate, we hope to facilitate their growth in the market and work towards the long term goal of increasing local production and exports from Nigeria across the region.”