The Youth in Agri-Food Export Development Program (YAEDP) - an export capacity-building program implemented by the African Food Changemakers (formerly Nourishing Africa) and supported by the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) - has entered the technical assistance phase following the completion of the first stage of the Program. The first stage included a six-module online course completed by over 1,700 participants. Participants also completed an export-readiness diagnostic tool to assess their export readiness level prior to engagement in the ongoing second phase of the Program.
The second and final stage of the YAEDP is dedicated to providing technical support to the participants towards facilitating market access for their agro-commodities and food products. This stage kicked off with a two-day workshop and one-day field trip in Lagos and Kano States, Nigeria and included interactive sessions aimed at enhancing participants' knowledge of product and market development in readiness for international trade.
The first workshop kicked off on 18 October 2022 in Lagos – Nigeria's largest commercial hub – and ended on 19 October 2022, with participants from 14 other states in the West African country: Abia, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Ebonyi, Edo, Ekiti, Enugu, Imo, Kogi, Kwara, Ogun and Oyo. The second workshop was held in Kano in Northern Nigeria on 25 October 2022 and 26 October 2022, with participants drawn from five other Nigerian states: FCT, Kaduna, Katsina, Niger and Taraba.
The workshops included technical sessions facilitated by experts in the landscape who took participants through key export topics such as Product Development, Export Documentation, Export Logistics, Pricing, Promotions and Partnerships, Incoterms, and drafting and negotiating the export Contract of Sale. The participants were also taken through standard practices involved in handling and processing agri-food products for export, good harvesting practices, value addition, warehousing, insurance, shipping, tracking, and determining the relevant incoterms for specific transactions.
One of the highlights of the workshop included group activities where participants were divided into smaller groups for practical exercises. On Day One of the workshop, the groups were tasked with recreating the product development and export transaction processes from product design to delivery to the export destination. This involved creating the documentation checklists and preparing their agri-food products for export. They brainstormed on their product value chains, value addition, packaging, labelling and the documentation checklists such as proforma invoice, Certificate of Origin (COO), bill of lading, packing list, business licenses, among other critical steps.
On Day Two of the workshop, the groups reviewed a case study of a failed export transaction and presented their findings and mitigation strategies. This activity was of immense help in visualizing the various critical dos and don'ts in an export transaction process.
"Now we know the practical implications from the beginning to the end of product sourcing, down to getting to your export destination. We have also learnt about the nitty gritties of what is expected of us exporters and even most importantly, the challenges one is likely to face during the exportation process," said Gloria Ihekauche who attended the export workshop in Kano.
…To Field Trips
The workshops ended with a field trip to top export facilities in Lagos and Kano States to aid immersive learning and on-the-field practical experience. The Lagos participants visited Starlink Global & Ideal Limited, Nigeria's biggest cocoa exporting company, where they were taken through the cocoa export process from the receiving point where cocoa pods are offloaded from trucks, weighed, tested and dried to the documentation review process, and finally, to the point of loading containers for transportation to the seaport. At AJ Investment Limited – another export company based at one of Nigeria's Export Processing Zones (EPZs) in Kano State - participants were taken through the process of receiving hibiscus flowers, testing, pest control, fumigation, documentation and shipping off to the port.
As the YAEDP draws to a close in December 2022, the workshops also served as the Program's first in-person engagement with the participants and provided an incredible opportunity for the business owners to meet, network and collaborate. The participants shared their experiences with our team and media crew, who were also available at the workshops and field trip.: Watch the video below to hear from them.
Next in the YAEDP, the participants will engage in mentoring sessions to provide one-on-one coaching and handholding to support their export exploits. They will also benefit from exposure to an array of actors in the export sector – including international buyers, quality and certification bodies, e-commerce platforms, as well as logistics providers.