By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The federal government has commended the management of WACOT Limited over the recent certification by the international certification organisation, ECOCERT, to export organic sesame globally.
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr Niyi Adebayo, who made the commendation, assured of the government’s support, adding that the President Muhammadu Buhari administration would not relent in creating an enabling environment for innovative agro-allied companies like WACOT.
“This government is all about encouraging and supporting indigenous companies, especially those in the agro-allied sector, to be successful within and outside the country.
“President Muhammadu Buhari administration is serious about weaning our economy off oil, and agriculture is a major priority.
“It is in this light that I commend your resourcefulness and diligence for getting the certifications,” Mr Adebayo said when he received members of the National Sesame Seed Association of Nigeria (NSSAN), the Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC), the management of WACOT and stakeholders in sesame production.
During the presentation of the certification to him, the Minister said he was impressed with the unity between WACOT, a member company of the TGI Group, and other key stakeholders, including NSSAN, urging other groups to emulate the partnership and always work for the country’s good.
Earlier, the TGI Group’s Director (Corporate Affairs), Mr Sadiq Kassim, who is also the Deputy National President of NSSAN, affirmed the commitment of the stakeholders to position Nigeria on the global map of organic sesame production.
Mr Kassim explained that due to the growing demand and adoption of organic food products like sesame globally, as well as its associated health benefits and eco-friendly characteristics, WACOT sought certifications for Nigeria, one of Africa’s leading producers, to help farmers and the nation’s economy.
“We are delighted to have received these certifications that permit us all levels of sesame handling from farming to export to the United States, Europe and Asia, among others. We are happy to be supporting the government’s economic diversification effort.
“The government has supported agriculture, and we felt that we could further assist by obtaining the certifications to export organic seed and bring in foreign exchange,” he stated.
France-based ECOCERT, which conducts inspections in over 80 countries, issued certification to WACOT, a company with sizeable investments in value chains of various crops across Nigeria, earlier in the year.
The first certification by ECOCERT conveyed the organisation’s approval to WACOT Limited to export sesame across the world, while the second certification on January 8 gave approval for WACOT to export sesame to the United States, having met that country’s Department of Agriculture (USDA) organic regulations.
With the approval, WACOT, whose investments cover agri-inputs, farming, supply chain and logistics, manufacturing and branding, is boosting Nigeria’s foreign exchange income through sesame export.