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.

Rice farmers want effective policy banning rice importation

The Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria, Oyo State chapter, has stressed the need for the Federal Government to sustain and make effective, policy banning importation of rice.

The Association’s Chairman, Mr. Victor Korede, made this known on Wednesday in an interview with newsmen in Ibadan.

Korede also said farmers needed favorable, progressive and consistent government policy in order to encourage mass production of rice and other produce, for food sufficiency and boost revenue.

He said building and acquisition of integrated rice of world class should be encouraged; adding that commercial production of rice should be made effective.

Korede said the government could achieve this by encouraging local farmers to go beyond subsistence cultivation.

“In the South, the government should assist in land clearing challenges facing farmers, irrigation system should be boosted in the region to encourage dry season farming as in Northern part,” he said.

He disclosed that no fewer than 300 tonnes of rice were produced yearly by the farmers in the state and sold, adding that some of the farmers operated micro rice mills.

“Efforts are on to raise our production standard; some of our members are engaged in Dangote rice production scheme, we are engaged as out-growers. Dangote supplies inputs and we plant and sells to him.

“We are also part of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) anchor borrower scheme and are expecting delivery of inputs for dry season farming while preparation for the wet season is in earnest.

“We are working earnestly to establish a relationship with research institutes for capacity building as well as enjoy benefits of research.

“Having discovered that the 28 agrarian local government lands in the state are suitable for rice cultivation, our association is encouraged to further develop and popularise rice production in the state.

“Establishment of new and upgrading of existing processing units, either small or medium scale, is our focus.”

He, however, identified herdsmen invasion on farms as the major challenge faced by the farmers in the state.

“We also need availability of light mechanical farm implements like power tillers, planters, harvesters, premium quality herbicides, among others.

“If we are efficiently supported, we will surely boost the quality of our production and satisfy the country adequately.”

Agriculture pulled nigeria out of recession

African and European diplomats on Wednesday lauded Nigeria’s agriculture sector for its role in pulling the country out of recession.

They gave their commendations at the ongoing 4th International Agro-Food Fair, taking place in Lagos.

According to Mr. Ibi Ikpoki, representing the EU trade delegation, the Nigeria agriculture sector has played a huge role in the country’s exit from recession.

“The Nigerian agricultural sector has also played a crucial role in job creation, women, and youth empowerment and contributed immensely to poverty alleviation.

“Therefore, I am delighted today that agriculture in Nigeria is gradually evolving from being seen as a mere activity to a business, moving primary production to value addition.

“This is why this annual exhibition continues to be relevant for the development of the agri-business and packaging sectors among others.”

Ikpoki also congratulated the Nigerian government for the improvement in the ease of doing business in the country.

Citing figures from the EU Trade Desk, he said that total EU trade in Nigeria increased by 27 percent from 19.9 billion euros in 2016 to 25.3 billion euros in 2017.

“This trade increase mirrors the improvements in Nigeria’s external trade as a country that exited recession in 2017.

“Permit me to use this opportunity to congratulate the Nigerian authorities for some notable feats experienced in 2017, including the improvement in ease of doing business.

“On ranking, we saw Nigeria jump 24 places from 169 to 145 and also emerged one of the topmost improved 10 countries.

Ikpoki also spoke on the EU’s increasing investments in Nigeria, in spite of the bureaucratic bottlenecks in doing business in the West African country.

The Netherlands Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Robert Petri, said also that the innovation Dutch companies were exhibiting at the fair would help boost agriculture processes in Nigeria.

“The Netherlands has innovative solutions for agriculture and for tackling high population growth and climate change such as in Nigeria.

Also speaking, the French Consul, Mr. Laurent Polonceaux, said his country’s partnership with Nigeria on agriculture had resulted in the participation of 50 French companies at the fair.

The Commercial Counsellor to the Austrian Embassy in Nigeria, Ms. Nella Hengstler, commended the organizers of the fair, noting that Africa was the new hub for Agro-food fairs.

“So, despite the visa wahala and all the travel issues, I think it makes sense to come here and exhibit our products in Africa.”

Similarly, the Acting High Commissioner of South Africa to Nigeria, Mr. Bobby Moroe, said that the fair offered great opportunities to Africa and Nigeria.

“It’s a great opportunity for Africa and Nigeria. You realise the statement made by the president that Nigeria will not have oil forever.

The Agrofood fair is being held for the fourth time in Nigeria with countries like China, Turkey and some Nigerian agriculture entrepreneurs exhibiting their produce at the fair.

Correspondents of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at the fair reported that over 80 exhibitors and about 1,000 participants were attending the fair.

Investment In Agriculture rises to N100b- Minister




The Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr. Heineken Lokpobiri said that Nigeria’s investment in agriculture increased to N100 billion in 2017 from N15 billion in 2015.

Mr. Lokpobiri made this disclosure when he received in audience a four-man delegation of World Fish officials led by the Country Representative Director, Dr. Harrison Chris Karisa, in his office recently in Abuja.

The Minister, during the meeting, expressed worry by the low level of development in aquaculture in Nigeria and expressed the readiness of the government to increase the level of fish production and aquaculture in the country.

He expressed optimism that sustainable fish production will also boost national revenue as well as serve as remedies of malnutrition and protein deficiency intake in Nigeria.

“Nigeria is poised to change the narrative in fish and aquaculture. We need to maximize the limited time to achieve world fish initiative,” Mr. Lokpobiri.

He assured the delegation that the country will partner the World Fish which is a highly reputable and respected organization as an expert in the production of Tilapia which is more affordable for the poor masses.

Earlier, one of the delegates, Professor Yusuf Abubakar, expressed the desire of his organization to establish a Nigerian country office with more emphasis on boosting Tilapia fish industry in Nigeria, saying the country has a lesson to learn from Egypt which today is the 3rd world producer of Tilapia fish.

Professor Abubakar also said the Fish Research Organization would also build capacities of the Research Institutes which would, in turn, enhance the capacity of smallholder farmers for a new programme in Tilapia fish production.

He assured that Melinda and Bill Gates Foundation was ready to fund the proposed Word Fish Centre Nigeria fishing programme.

Nigeria recorded 150% in Agricultural Export

Agricultural Export


Nigeria recorded 150% in agricultural export in the last one year, this was stated by the Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS).

Dr. Vincent Isegbe who is the Coordinating Director, NAQS, made the disclosure. He was encouraging farmers and exporters on the importance and benefits of the Agricultural sector.

He stated that the increase was as a result of the intensity of the agency’s sensitization efforts to ensure exporters of agricultural products comply with international standards.

Isegbe said, “We have embarked on massive sensitizations on how to go about the export of agricultural produce. We are going from state to state, and also using radio and television to complement our efforts.

“Agricultural export has increased by 150 percent in the last one year according to the Managing Director of Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA). We believe it has gone beyond that percentage.”

Isegbe said there has been high demand for yam outside the shores of the country and exporters are meeting up this demand with the help of the agency.

“Yam export has continued ever since and people are even getting more and more orders to export yam. Somebody has about 400, 000 tubers of yam to export and he is doing it. After that incident, he is still exporting yams. We are working together with him as an agency and he has no issues,” he added.

The NAQS however condemned in a statement signed by the Head, Media, and Public Relations, NAQS, Dr. Gozie Nwodo, the use of some containers in packaging agricultural commodities thereby endangering the nation’s agricultural economy.

The statement reads in part: “Following several queries and complaints from importers, exporters and other stakeholders regarding the issue of packaging materials for shipping cargoes, it has become necessary for Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS), to reiterate the following; NAQS is concerned about Solid Wood Packaging Materials (SWPM), such as pallets, crates, boxes, dunnages, etc, in containerized cargoes imported into Nigeria because of their potential of serving as pathways for pests and diseases introduction that can endanger the nation’s agricultural economy.

“All importation of SWPM must be accompanied with import permit from NAQS or must have been treated, and treatment given stated on the International Plant Protection Convention (PPC), markings/logo according to International Standard for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM), 15 guidelines.

“Further, all treated SWPM imported into Nigeria should carry IPPC marking or logo, stating the type of treatment administered (Methyl Bromide or Heat Treatment). Already imported SWPM must be re-treated if they are to be reused or recycled.

“Importers and exporters are to take note, and contact NAQS for proper guidance.”

MOUAU calls for new crop varieties

Dr. Peter Iwuno Okocha, a professor of Plant Breeding and Seed production at the Micheal Okpara University of Agriculture Umudike (MOUAU), Abia State has stressed the imperative need for the country to develop new crop varieties that would cope with the effects of climate change.

This was stated while delivering a lecture at the University’s 32nd inaugural lecture on the topic “Gene: The engine that drives Plant Breeding.”

He was of the opinion that disaster might hit Nigerians and Africa at large by the effects of climate change if these effects continue.

He defined Gene as the molecular unit of hereditary of a living organ that plays important role in determining physical characteristics as well as carrying information that makes the individual look the way it appears.

Okocha further posited that the successful application of classical plant breeding to date is not in doubt with the numerous achievements in the development of new and high yielding crop varieties worldwide.

According to him, it was the successful application of plant Breeding that led to the green revolution of the 1960s and early 1970s, which he said, were recorded in Asian and Latin American countries.

He added that it was only Africa that failed to attain green revolution and that the era of application of biotechnological tools in plant breeding is also eluding many African countries.

He considered it unlikely that the developed world or our profit-oriented private sector will come to our help hence he alerted “ we are at the brink of a new era that may have very drastic consequences for us as a people if we fail to wake up from our slumber.”

Olam invests $1 billion in Nigeria’s Agriculture

Olam Nigeria Limited has invested about 1 billion U.S. dollars (about N360 billion) in Nigeria’s agriculture sector within its 26 years of existence in the country.
The Vice-President of Olam, Reji George, made this known on Tuesday in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja.
He said that Olam was working toward enhancing Nigeria’s food security, boosting the country’s self-sufficiency in food production and helping it to realize its goal of becoming a global exporter of rice.
George said that as part of efforts to realize its goals, Olam Nigeria Limited had set up a multi-million dollar integrated rice mill, which had the capacity of producing 36,000 tonnes of rice per annum, in Nasarawa State.
He said: “The 3,000 hectares of land under cultivation on the 6,000-hectare paddy farm, where the rice mill is located, is being increased to 10,000 hectares and will become the largest rice farm in Africa.
“The mill has given direct employment to 1,000 people from the surrounding communities. The total investment in the integrated farm, the mill and other facilities amounts to 111 million dollars (about N40 billion).’’
George said that the farm was also supporting an “out-grower programme’’, through which adjacent rice-growing communities were supported with training, pre-finance support, fertilizer and seeds so as to boost their productivity.
George said: “More than 3,500 rice-growing farmers are currently engaged in training, pre-finance support, and inputs supplies in order to improve their own paddy yields, and the target is the production of 16,000 tonnes of rice by 2018.’’
George said that as part of strategies to ensure that those involved in the rice value chain did not record or suffer losses, rice farmers were motivated with the provision of rice mills, while domestic markets were sought for the milled rice.
He said that in efforts to boost food production, support the farmers and make Nigeria the agricultural hub of Africa, close to 120 million dollars was spent on the poultry and animal feeds business in Kaduna and Ilorin in 2017.
He said: “We are determined to make Nigeria the agricultural hub on the continent; we are, therefore, sourcing, procuring, grading, processing and exporting other agricultural products such as cocoa, cashew, sesame, and cotton.’’
The Olam vice-president said that more than 6,000 farmers in Taraba and Benue had been fully registered and equipped with farm inputs at a 50-percent subsidy.
George said that in Taraba, more than 15,000 farmers would cultivate 15,000 hectares of rice farms and produce 15,000 tonnes of paddy for rice mills.
He said that Olam was also making concerted efforts to develop ginneries, with the aim of reviving moribund textile industries across the country.
He said that the ginnery in Zaria was being overhauled to produce about 40,000 tonnes of raw cotton annually.

Agriculture is given priority to end insurgency- Shettima


Agriculture will end Insurgency

Agriculture is being given priority to order reduce insurgency and end poverty. This was stated by Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State at the third Nigeria Zero Hunger Forum in Maiduguri.

He said that various initiatives have been put in place by the State Government to enhance farmer support services; encourage agricultural mechanization, processing, and farmer entrepreneurial skills.

The programmes are also designed to give value and provide a market to produce as well as increase food security and wealth creation in the society. The governor said that before the insurgency, Borno was one of the nation’s major producer of foods, livestock and fishery products.

“In the pre-insurgency era, we were the major producers of cereal crops, livestock and fisheries and people enjoyed a prosperous life.

“Poverty is one of the root causes of insurgency and we are geared to fight poverty through effective utilization of Agriculture and water resources.

“We invested much in agriculture. Agriculture transformation is a struggle that we must fight and we must win that war to end the insurgency,” he said.

The governor also stated that the state government was partnering with the Federal Government, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), World Food Programme (WFP) and development organizations to reinvigorate agriculture, fight hunger and provide means of livelihood to millions of persons displaced by the Boko Haram insurgency.

The governor also disclosed that the state government was collaborating with the Federal Government, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), World Food Programme (WFP) and development organizations to reinvigorate agriculture, fight hunger and provide means of livelihood to millions of persons displaced by the Boko Haram insurgency.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo who is the initiator of the project was also present at the event.

The Three-day forum was attended by Audu Ogbe, the Minister of Agriculture who was represented by Mr. Obinna Okpara, a director in the ministry.