By Omolola Pedro
The Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) has trained, at least, 200 coffee farmers in Plateau State, in a bid to further increase production and export of coffee, FarmingFarmersFarms reports. The capacity building on coffee production and processing for export, which was held in Jos, had participants from the Jos South and Riyom Local Government Areas of Plateau state. The NEPC Regional Coordinator, Mr. Samson Idowu said that the workshop had become a very crucial factor for increasing the state’s production of the commodity.
He emphasised that coffee production was declining in the plateau region, despite the fertile soil for its production. According to Idowu, the workshop was a part of initiatives to support the government’s agenda for diversifying the non-oil sector and boosting the potentials of the nation’s export. Speaking further, Idowu noted that the workshop was necessitated by the outcome of a survey conducted by the council a few months ago, which established the fact that coffee production in the Plateau was declining.
“In light of the results and to address some of the challenges facing its production, we have brought together seasoned experts to engage in strategic enlightenment programmes. The event is designed to equip coffee growers, processors, and other stakeholders in the coffee value chain with the skills and knowledge needed to increase productivity, improve quality and reduce post-harvest losses”, he said. Idowu, however, reaffirmed the council’s dedication to expanding and diversifying the non-oil economy sector, which is why the workshop was held to support the “Export for Survival” campaign of the Federal Government.
Also, addressing participants at the workshop, the Deputy Chairman of Riyom District Council, Mr. Yakubu Elisha, lauded NEPC for the initiative of training coffee farmers. He also urged farmers to take the training seriously and fully maximise gains in the production of the commodity and meet the export needs of the country. Beneficiaries of the training expressed their appreciation to NEPC for the opportunity, and made a call to the government to assist them with seedlings and finance to help boost coffee production in the community. Plateau, alongside Taraba and Cross River states are prominent in Nigeria’s history of coffee farming.