FG plans new air terminals to boost farm export
LAGOS: The Federal Government is building cargo terminals at 12 airports to help boost export of farm produce, said Yakubu Dati, general manager, public affairs, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).
“Our airports are being rebuilt to provide means for exporting perishable and non-perishable agricultural output to remove waste, save time” and increase farmers’ income, Dati said, according to Bloomberg.
FAAN is working with farmers’ groups and airlines to identify and serve foreign markets, he said.
After building the terminals, private investors will provide refrigeration services, air transport and other facilities for export, helping to support agriculture, according to Dati. Products expected to benefit include peanuts, tomatoes, lettuce, peppers, mangoes and carrots, he said.
The country is seeking to reduce dependence on oil exports, which account for about 80 percent of government revenue and more than 95 percent of export income.
Nigeria plans to increase food production by 20 million metric tons by 2015 by providing land, funding and infrastructure and save the $10 billion spent on food imports every year, according to the Ministry of Agriculture.
The Federal Government wants to increase cargo throughput at its airports, now dominated by passenger traffic, as part of efforts to increase airport revenue threefold, Aviation Minister, Stella Oduah, said on January 21.
Cargo transported through the nation’s 22 airports declined 11 percent to 78.6 million kilogrammes (173 million pounds) for the six months through June 2012, compared with a year ago, with exports representing 22 percent, or 17 million kilogrammes, according to the most recent data obtained from FAAN. Passenger movement declined 4 percent to 6.8 million with 3.5 million, or 58 percent, leaving the country.
“We have a situation at present where cargo planes fly into the country and fly out empty,” Dati said. “FAAN has created a cargo department which underscores the importance it attaches to the project.”
Apart from building cargo terminals, the aviation ministry and FAAN plan to reconstruct all the airports in the country and build five new international airport terminals this year, each meeting the International
Civil Aviation Organisation standards, he said.