Managing Director of Bende Export-Import Limited, a subsidiary of Slok Group, Benjamin Kalu, who disclosed this during a round table discussion organised by the company for exporters in the country, said EU countries like Belgium, Spain, Poland and the United Kingdom are biggest buyers of Nigerian charcoal.
Kalu said his company has been exporting on average 200-300 containers of hardwood charcoal per month to buyers in Europe, adding that “EU customers want charcoal that is compliant with quality control in terms of size and moisture content. Exporters must comply or lose money.”
He lamented that there are not as many Nigerians in the export business as importers and most exporters do not last for more than one or two years in the business before they fizzle out.
In order to address this problem, he said his company has kicked off a campaign aimed at grooming one million new generation of genuine exporters over the next three years. “My focus is to groom a new generation of exporters; men and women of integrity who can make money for themselves and the country through foreign exchange.
“We are working hard to achieve this target in the next three years and the strategy we want to apply is training the trainers. We want to do this programme in the 36 states of the federation including Abuja, the federal capital territory. It is going to be moving from place to place and it will be quarterly,” he said.
He said that the move was his company’s response to the drive by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and the Nigerian Export Promotion Council, NEPC, to boost the country’s export base, noting that “Nigeria is the least when it comes to non-oil export according to the ranking by the World Trade Organisation, WTO.”
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