By Simon Akoje
Lagos, Sept. 4, 2020 An Agricultural Economist, Mr Bright Okwu, has urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to include Egg Powder imports to be among the items banned from accessing Foreign Exchange (FOREX).
An agricultural economist specialises in understanding the economic activity within agricultural markets. They research statistics and data pertaining to the agricultural industry and project possible patterns and trends within the economy.
Okwu, who is the National Coordinator of Africa Farming Project, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Friday.
He noted that restricting egg powder imports from accessing foreign exchange would enable the dealers to backward integration.
“Looking inward to meet domestic egg powder needs is possible because there are millions of laid eggs that are not being harnessed.
“In fact, there are often egg glut every quarter, so meeting domestic demand will not be a challenge.
“Egg glut occurs when demand for eggs is less than its supply. It is usually seasonal and this takes place between February and May each year,” ,” he said.
Farmers attribute it to increased temperature at that time of the year and a corresponding fall in the consumption of tea, bread and fried egg.
According to Okwu, it is worrisome that Nigeria is still importing egg powder at this stage of its national development.
He added the Federal Government should rather, grant soft loans to agriculture entrepreneurs to acquire machinery for making egg powder.
“Acceding to grant the loans will boost domestic production and attract investors into the sector.
“The sector will now create employment opportunities and lead to self-sufficiency in domestic egg powder production in the future,” he told NAN.
Okwu said that restricting foreign exchange for dealers of egg powder was imperative because it would also reduce the demand for hard currency.
“Unnecessary demand for foreign exchange for commodities that could be produced domestically had been our bane over the years.
“So, the move is vital, especially now that there is inadequate buffer of foreign exchange caused by the health pandemic,’’ he said.