By Stanley Onyekwere
Ahead of the commencement of the African Continental Free Trade Area( AFCFTA) billed for January 1, 2021, a monthly market, christened: Arahah Famers’ market this week debuted in Abuja, as part of deliberate moves to prepare indigenous products producers for the possible competition that may hit the markets within the region.
The initiator of “ Arahah famers market “ in Nigeria, Mrs. Esther Eghobamien-Mshelia, said Nigeria had no better time than now to prepare for what the liberalized regional trade, including competition from other local goods producers from the participating countries.
Eghobamien-Mshelia, who is also the Convener of Women Arise Development and Humanitarian Initiative (WADHI), a rural women empowerment platform, noted that the country needs to upscale it’s small, micro and medium enterprises potential to ensure adequate maximization of the benefits of the trade agreement.
She noted that the concept of “ Arahah farmers market “ came as a monthly market that will provide consumers with discount prices on locally produced goods, as well as opportunity for micro enterprises promoters to interface and get skills need for the international trade.
According to her, the project established as a monthly market in partnership with the Federal Ministry of Trade, Industry and Investment and the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry ( ACCI) has identified several Nigerian local goods that will earn the country huge foreign exchange in the global export market.
She adds: “the concept of Araha market is to make good quality Indigenous materials available directly from the producers, either farmers or micro and small enterprises to the general public.
“ This , our partners ACCI, Ministry of Trade, Industry and Investment are all working collectively to create a better market for locally produced goods. We want local producers to meet the standards and need of the consumers and be able to compete from the 1st of January 2021 when African Continental Free Trade Agreement kicks off”.
Similarly, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investments, Dr. Nasir-Sani Gwarzo, said the Ministry was working with other stakeholders to prepare local Small and Medium Enterprises (SME’s) operators for the take off of the Trade Agreement that Nigeria has signed.
Gwarzo who was represented by the Deputy Director of Commodities in the Ministry , Mr. Kaura Irimiya, noted that “ as a Ministry we have a responsibility to train them and lead them to produce the right quality for the market.
“Some of these local products are exportable, we have seen good packages, we also hope that with time they will improve”.