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FG to launch WTO-supported initiative to boost agricultural products to EU 

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Ngozi Okonjo Iweala

This week, the Federal Government of Nigeria is set to inaugurate the Standard Trade Development Facility (STDF), an initiative supported by the World Trade Organization (WTO), designed to enhance market access for Nigerian agricultural products into the European Union (EU).  

The launch of this initiative is the primary reason for the WTO’s visit to Nigeria, led by Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director-General, who, along with her team, arrived in the country on Tuesday, as noted in a statement from the Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Investment. 

Establishing the STDF in the country comes in response to the consistent rejections of Nigerian agricultural exports in the EU market.  

  • “To assist Nigerian farmers in producing agricultural products that would have seamless market access overseas, the country requested the STDF, and Capacity Building Support, from the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the sequel to the growing concern over Nigeria’s agricultural exports being repeatedly rejected, particularly by the EU,” the statement read in part.  

The statement also detailed that Dr. Okonjo-Iweala, upon arriving in Abuja, underscored the purpose of her visit: to establish a strategic framework to support Nigeria’s economic diversification.  

She emphasised the critical need to enhance the exportation of agricultural and health products, particularly given the country’s prevailing economic challenges. 

  • “These are hard times, and we are here to see what we can do to diversify Nigeria’s economy through export. It is fantastic to be back home towards the STDF programme with the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment to see what we can do to diversify the economy through export for the country to move forward with the tough times,” the WTO D-G said.  

More insights  

  • The Standards Trade Development Facility (STDF) initiative, established as a partnership between the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the International Trade Centre (ITC), aims to bolster the agricultural sector in developing nations by providing comprehensive technical assistance and enhancing capacity-building services. 
  • The STDF’s primary goal in Nigeria is to provide farmers with the necessary skills and knowledge to produce agricultural products that meet international standards, thus facilitating smoother access to overseas markets. 
  • Specifically, the STDF initiative will focus on enhancing the ability of Nigerian farmers to comply with the rigorous International Sanitary and Phytosanitary (ISP) standards, which are essential for exporting animals, food, and plants to more developed nations, particularly targeting the European Union (EU) market. 
  • The formal launch of the STDF in Nigeria will be graced by high-profile officials, including Vice President Sen. Kashim Shettima (GCON), Honourable Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment Doris Nkiruka Uzoka-Anite, among others. 

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