Edo Youths in Agric Empowerment Programme

The Edo State Government is set to train and its youths financial aides to gain momentum in the agricultural sector through an agric empowerment programme.

According to the Institute of Export Operations and Management (IEOM), measures have been put in place to partner with financial institutions on the training of Edo youths as well as the provision of financial support for the processing and packaging of agricultural products, mineral resources, as well as art and craft products for export.

The disclosure was made to newsmen by the Executive Secretary of IEOM, Ofon Udofia when a delegation of institute and members of the Benin Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, paid Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State a courtesy visit at the Government House, Benin City.

Udofia added that some of the financial institutions the IEOM is finalising the deals with include the Nigerian Export-Import (NEXIM) Bank and Bank of Industry (BOI).

He stated that the Institute was resolved to equip the youths with the right knowledge in agriculture, through training programmes that will focus on product development, processing and as well as packaging – that will match international standards and quality.

In his remark, “The decision has been reached to complement the laudable socio-economic projects being embarked upon by the Godwin Obaseki-led administration. The plans to develop the Edo Inland Dry Port, Gelegele Seaport and the Industrial Park are credible and will open the Edo economy to international markets.”

Udofia added that the partnership deals would include arrangement with NEXIM and BOI to assist in funding for the processing companies, stating, “The processing companies will be set-up at the completion of the training programme.”

He noted that the centre is set for training but, requires training ground from the state to serve as location for the exercise on export commodities development.

“In the centre, youths would be taught and exposed to viable business opportunities and how to harness export opportunities in agriculture, solid minerals and art and craft sectors,” Udofia added.

The governor, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Osarodion Ogie, noted that the state would leave no stone unturned to support investors to drive products, manufacturing to supply domestic and international markets.

Ogie explained that the Benin Industrial park, Gelegele Sea port and Edo Inland Dry Port would boost exportation, provide jobs for the teeming youth population and create wealth.
“All of these cannot be achieved without empowering youths with requisite skills to prepare them to fit into the new job opportunities that would be created in the state,” he said.


Nigerian Youths to get N8.6bn From World Bank

World Bank is set to disburse N8.6 billion to 5,916 youths across Nigeria who are signed up to the Graduate Unemployment Youths Support Scheme.

This was  disclosed by the chairman of FADAMA GUYS Implementation Committee, Mr Kwaji Daguru while granting an interview with newsmen today n Abuja.

According to him, the aim of the programme is to improve agriculture in the country and has targeted 5,916 youths in 23 states. Also this programme will involve the youths in agriculture in a bid to boost food security for the country, provide employment and boost capacity building. The enrollment for the programme ended last year May with the aim of selecting youths who will boost job creation in the 23 states.

The states to benefit from this fund include, Abia, Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Benue, Ebonyi, Ekiti, Jigawa, Katsina, Kebbi, Kogi, Niger, Ogun and Ondo States.

The agency has applied to the federal government via the Federal Ministry of Finance for permission to reallocate the funds from other categories like Consultancy, Training, Civil Work into the Grant and Funds category.

He said that “any moment from now, disbursement will take place, especially to those who would engage in rainy season agricultural activities because they have completed the grant agreement and submitted their land documents.

“The phase one is expected to gulp about N8,675,013,679.12 to fund the business plans of the 5,916 candidates in 23 states. “If the resources permit in the last segment of project, we will be able to upscale to other states in the second phase.”

This can be seen as World Bank’s objects to help eradicate poverty through youths empowerment and development.

Yobe NACCIMA urges farmers and businessmen to register for opportunities

The President, of the Yobe State Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, (NACCIMA), Alhaji Jingiri Abubakar, has called on farmers, businessmen and industrialists to register with the chamber to access more opportunities.

Jingiri, who is also the Vice Chairman of the Northern States Chamber of Commerce stated this during a week-long tour at the 17 local government areas of the state.

He said the week-long tour was to sensitize on the importance of the need for the farmers, industrialists and businessmen to join the chamber, “In the past there were a lot of opportunities in which you can tap, but due to nonexistence of the chamber in the state, Yobe citizens and residents could not access them”.

He said revolving loans that are targeted for farmers and business owners has not been utilized in the past hence advised them to form the chamber at local government levels for more opportunities.

“By joining the chamber, you will recover what you have missed and benefit from more opportunities, as the saying goes, ‘united we stand, divided we fall'”, he said.

Jingiri further revealed that the chamber will in future organize seminars, workshops and training programmes for its members to be able to achieve excellence in the business landscape and build an institution where professionalism, efficiency and creativity are deployed to create wealth for the members.

The team also paid courtesy visit to traditional rulers in the various local government to help explain their missions to their subjects in the interest of economic development of the state.


Nigeria Exports 1,983 Containers of Hibiscus to Mexico


Nigeria might be looking to benefit from the export of Hibiscus as it exported 1,983 container of the produce to Mexico in 2017. This generated $35 million for the country.

With the Government focused on increasing non-oil exports, agribusiness have been given the opportunity to increase their effort in producing Agricultural produce of high demand.

Any smart Agribusiness investor or farmer will see that hibiscus business is a goldmine that is yet to be discovered as it has a high demand in the USA, Europe and Asia. Let look at it from this angle, if only Mexico could account for $35 million from the export of the produce, you can imagine what the country will earn if countries like Germany, Greece and Latvia imported hibiscus from Nigeria.

Jigawa State is the highest producer of hibiscus in the Nation followed by Kastina, Kebbi, Zamfara, Borno and Yobe. As exporting the raw dried leaves, processing plant can be set up around the country where the it can be processed into Zobo drinks. This will help the country to export both hibiscus leaves and Zobo drinks, thereby earning the country more income.

It is important to note that the amount raised was within nine month. This is an industry worth looking into.

FG should impose Levies on Imported Cassava Starch

cassava starch


Nigeria spent $654 million on cassava starch product, flours and come other cassava products by-products in the previous year. That is such a huge amount to spend on products that can be produced locally.

Nigeria is still the world’s largest producer of cassava in the world but still imports cassava by-products. But why will the Nigeria import in large quantities cassava by-products that can be produced here? It is simple, the absence of cassava processing plants to convert the cassava into different by-products. Like other raw material that are extracted/ produced and exported from Nigeria, cassava is being exported in its raw state.

Currently, Nigeria imports 96 percent of starch. Reason is that the local demand of 600,000 tonnes could not be met. Aside that, sweeteners, which is another by-product of cassava is completely imported i.e. 200,000 tonnes imported yearly. 88 percent of high quality cassava flour (HQCF) that is demand locally is imported, this means that 504,000 are imported.

As a result of this, the nation imports the processed by-products thereby spending millions on a yearly basis. But what can be done to ensure that this trend changes? The Government needs to create an enabling environment in which the cassava processing business can invest heavily in the industry, this includes imposing levies on importers of cassava by-products.

Cassava wheat can be used to produce the Garri, Cassava Bread, cassava fufu, Ethanol and Livestock feed.

We hope the government will intercede in this area.

Palm Kernel- Neglected Revenue Booster

Palm Kernel

Palm Kernel Nuts available in very large quantities

The Nigerian palm kernel industry is an industry the Nigerian government isn’t paying enough attention to. Indonesia is the highest producer of Palm kernel followed by Malaysia. According to indexmundi, Nigeria is fifth following Columbia and it is expected that the revenue to be generated from the demand for palm kernel will be $92.84 billion by 2021 (Globe news wire). Nigeria’s share of the market is 1.5 per cent of the global palm oil market.

Palm Oil is an economically important vegetable oil which can be used for both edible and non-edible products. In Nigeria, palm oil is mostly used for cooking of food.

So what is thew government doing to make this cash crop one of the highest revenue generator? According to Bismarck Rewane, who is the Managing Director of Financial Derivatives Company Limited, Nigeria still need to import additional 1.7 tonnes in 2018 in order to meet manufacturing firms’ demand. A country that produces crude palm oil is one of the top five market for Indonesian crude palm oil in the last two years.

As at last year June, research shows that the price of the commodity was $979 per ton, it increased by 146.17% ($1431.00) to $2410 per ton. Going by the production numbers of last year when Nigeria produced 335,000 tons of palm kernel (keeping the price constant), Nigeria can earn about $800,000,000.00.

If government can support the palm kernel production industry by putting in place policies that bring in investors into that industry, the country will be witnessing a boost in the Nations revenue.


Nigeria to start exporting Beans


The new development provides business opportunities for Nigerian agribusinesses to export beans and to get involved in the value chain.

Starting from April, 2018, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) will start a pilot export of Nigerian Dried beans to the European Union.

Shaukak Malik, who is UNIDO’s Chief Technical Adviser, National Quality Infrastructure Project said this on Monday during the opening of a 3-Day capacity building for sustainability of the project.

The body has said it will write an official letter to the EU, informing it of the improved quality of dried Nigerian beans and it is safe for consumption. The letter will be sent to the EU once the pilot is successful.

It will be recalled that the EU banned importation of Nigeria’s dried beans in June 2015 based on the fact that it contained a high level of pesticide dangerous to human health.

This was further extended to three years in June 2016. Reasons given was that there was presence of dichlorvos (pesticide) in dried beans imported from Nigeria and maximum residue levels of pesticides showed that compliance with food law requirement in regards to pesticide residual could not be achieved in the short term.

UNIDO urged the Nigerian government to approve the Nigerian national Quality Policy (NNQP) urgently as the policy is awaiting final approval from the Federal Executive Council (FEC).

According to Shaukak Malik, if the NNQP is approved, it will reduce product rejection or ban at EU countries and other part of the world.

So we hope that the pilot is a success as this will add to the country’s revenue from the Agricultural sector.

Processed Cashew Nut can boost the Economy

Cashew Nut

Nigeria is currently the fourth largest producer of raw Cashew nut in the world, it produced 220,000 MT and exported 120,000 MT in 2017. This made farmers in the country to earn N123 billion ($402 million) from exporting the cash crop in 2017.

This is good news but the country might still be losing millions of dollars as we only export the raw cash crop. A lot more can be earned from processing the cash crop and then exporting it. It doesn’t mean that the country should stop exporting the raw cashew nuts but should also process some of this cashew nuts. This processed cashew nuts can then be exported to African countries as these countries end up exporting from the EU and the US.

The government has a role to play in this also. With the right policies, cashew nut processing plants can be established throughout the country to process the cash crop. The government should encourage the establishment of processing plants so that processed cashew nuts can be produced locally. Once we can process and sell cashew nuts locally, the government can go ahead to place a restriction on the importation of processed cashew nut.

Aside from exporting the processed cashew nuts, it can be distributed to retail value chains.

This will help boost employment thereby reducing the unemployment rate in the country as processing plants will need people to fill up positions in the production and administrative units.

It is important to note that the export earnings from the cash crop have seen a steady increase in the last two years, it was $152,000,000 in 2016, $259,000,000 in 2016 and $402,000,000 in 2017. This shows that the cash crop is a profitable venture to go into.


Nigerian Grains Production Fluctuates- FAO



A recently released quarterly report on crop prospects and food situation of the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reveals that there has been a drop in the total coarse grains produced in the country.

Nigeria, which produced 19.1 million tonnes of coarse grains in 2015, dropped to 18.9 million tonnes in 2016; the production slightly picked up to 19 million tonnes in 2017.

However, for rice production, Nigeria witnessed a consistent rise from 4.8 million tonnes in 2015, to 5 million tonnes in 2016 and consequently 5.4 million tonnes in 2017.

According to the report, the country’s overall cereals production (including wheat, rice and coarse grains) which was 23.9 million tonnes each for both 2015 and 2016 increased considerably to 24.4 million tonnes in 2017.

In another vein, the report showed that Nigeria’s total cereals stock based on aggregate of carryovers at the end of national crop years has been fluctuating from 2013 to 2018.

Based on official and non-official estimates of the FAO, Nigeria’s cereal stock in 2013 was 2.8 million tonnes, which nosedived to 1.3 million tonnes in 2014.

For the years 2015 and 2016, the country’s cereal stock increased to 2.9 million tonnes each while the stock slightly decreased to 2.7 million tonnes in 2017, going further down to 2.1 million tonnes in 2018.

In the same report Nigeria, which was categorized under the low income food deficit countries, had commercial purchases (and/or imports) of cereals of 7,250,000 tonnes between January and December 2016 marketing year, while the country’s estimated total import requirement for 2017 was 7,360,000 tonnes.

There was no data available for Nigeria on the estimated cereal import requirements for 2017/2018 marketing year.

Reacting to this development, an agric expert, Dr Innocent Okuku, confirmed that farmers generally tended to migrate from the production of crops that bring higher income from sales, which explains why there was a decline in production of some crops.

Dr Okuku reaffirmed that Nigeria was a low income country judging from the N18,000 being paid to workers as minimum wage which was around 50USD to 60USD per month.

He explained further that the amount translated to just about 1.5USD per day thus categorizing the receiver as a low income person. This, he said, was in addition to high level of youth unemployment in the country.

Dr Okuku noted that the fraction that have a reasonable income or earning of about 20USD to 30USD per day make up the smaller percentage of the country’s population.

On Nigeria falling under the food deficit countries classification, he also asserted that Nigeria was a food deficit country because there is higher importation of food than export.

Okuku stated that although Nigeria was gradually growing its food production, in addition to efforts by the present administration to boost especially rice production, the shift in lifestyle and nutritional pattern among Nigerians and deficit between consumption and supply means Nigeria’s food production is still lagging behind.

He noted that many industries still import the raw materials they need to carry out production activities, citing example with the confectionery industry which, he said, majorly imported wheat they use for production.

The expert explained that small-holder farmers tend to shift to cultivation of crops that receive greater public attention and government support and financing at the detriment of other cereal crops traditionally produced by them.

He proclaimed that more land has been put to rice production which was why there was a shortfall in production of the other cereal crops, adding that sorghum and millet cultivation was done mostly at subsistence level and only the excess gets to the markets.

He held that the only way Nigeria could get out of the situation was to become a net exporter of food by developing power and infrastructures. This way, he said, the country can adequately compete at international markets and generate the foreign exchange necessary for growth and development of its agricultural sector and the country at large.


Nigeria’s Palm Oil Deficit worth $800M

Palm Oil

Demand for Palm oil

In the 1960s, Nigeria was one of the leading exporters of crude palm oil. Unfortunately the country lost the position to become a net importer in order to cater for the increasing domestic demand.

The deficit of the country currently stands at about 900,000 metric tonnes estimated at $800 million. According to the trade statistics for international business development, the legal import falls within the range of $224 to $546 million

Nigeria however prohibits the import of refined palm oil/ vegetable oil is prohibited and 35% duty is charged on the import of crude palm oil and crude vegetable oil.

The demand for palm oil is driven by two factors: increased household consumption of Technical Palm Oil (TPO) because of its taste, and  increased demand for the Special Palm Oil (SPO) that is  processed into refined, bleached and deodourised (RBD) for  industrial purposes.

The food industry consumes 90% whereas 10% is used by the non-food industry.

With an estimated population of 193 million, the country’s household consumption has dramatically gone up, along with the fast food industry where products like noodles, margarines, vegetable oil, biscuits, bakery, frying, fat in snack and many other items use palm oil.

The cosmetics industries thrive on palm oil too as manufacturers of soaps, creams and detergents use it as raw materials.

Besides, other non-food uses include the production of greases, lubricants, candles, feeds, and more recently, biofuels and water-treatment items.

The Nigerian Institute for Oil Palm Research (NIFOR) estimates that upstream palm oil production is 0.98 million tons far from the nation’s demand of over 1.6 million tones.


According to the Global Palm Oil Conference,  Nigeria was the fourth largest producer of palm oil in the world at 1,350,000 tonnes  (about 3% of global production)  after Indonesia 21.4 million (44%), Malaysia 18.9 million (39%) and Thailand 1.5 million (3%) in 2013.

However, statistics from Palm Oil Analytics show a decline in production to 970,000 tonnes in 2016 making the country ranks fifth in the world as Colombia now sits on the country’s 2013 position; whereas global production of palm oil in 2016 hit 6.6 million tonnes with Indonesia increasing production to 34.5 million tonnes.

Though domestic production is above 900,000 tons, there is an estimated overall gap of over 900,000 tonnes, which is imported to bridge the demand gap particularly in the allied industries.

A report on Palm Oil Value Chain Analysis in the Niger Delta by the Foundation for Partnership Initiatives in the Niger Delta (PIND) 2011 noted that the main forces driving the increased demand for TPO palm oil in Nigeria include the increasing household consumption and the increased income which leads to changing consumer consumption patterns to purchase more fast foods, and increasing demand from the primary food processing industry.

Recently, senators on a motion titled “Urgent Need to Halt the Importation of Palm Oil and its Allied Products to Protect Palm Oil Industry in Nigeria,’’ called on The Federal Government to ban the importation of palm oil into the country.

Sen. Francis Alimikhena (Edo-APC) who sponsored the motion expressed worry that the importation if allowed to continue, will discourage farmers and halt the diversification drive of the Federal Government.

According to him, about 450,000 tonnes of palm oil worth N116.3 billion was imported into the country in 2017.

“The government must reverse this trend with copious investments in the local palm industry and the protection of local producers from unnecessary imports.

“This is also threatening the viability of the industry into which many Nigerians have sunk huge sums of money in support of the government’s export promotion drive,” Alimikhena said.

Supporting his claims, Senator Theodore Orji (Abia-PDP) wants the Federal Government to establish a special fund that will help boost local production.

To close the supply-demand gap, the government through agencies like the Raw Material Research and Development Council has a project that will develop one million hectares of oil palm in five years, out of which 900,000 hectares are earmarked for smallholders, while 100,000 hectares are for large estates.