Agricultural goods’ exportation has become one of the prominent ways of growing foreign exchange revenue, while strengthening local value chain and wealth accumulation. Agricultural products like grains has been proven to contribute to promotion of food security in Nigeria. This was stated at a recent seminar organized by Buhler Nigeria, titled “Commodity Grains: Boosting Export, Feeding the Population”. The seminar also discussed potentials of export and local opportunities that can be derived from certain grains.
A process technologist at Buhler, Ekalavya Kumar, stated that to benefit from the export market, as a businessman, there has to be existence of meeting points where the need for generation of revenue from exports, improvement of GDP and the ability to feed the country, will happen in perfect synergy. Export is important but without meeting the country’s consumption, the job is undone. Nigeria is transiting from oil reliance to agriculture exports but requires the support of all stakeholders.
Understanding the significance of standards is key.
In 2022, cocoa beans, sesame seeds, and cashews were at the top of the list of exported agricultural commodities, generating N442.95 billion for Nigeria. Cocoa generated N232.65 billion, which accounted for 38.89 percent of total agricultural exports; sesame seeds earned N139.85 billion, which accounted for 23.34 percent of overall agricultural exports; while cashew nuts was valued at N70.45 billion. Kumar stated that sesame is a reliable export crop. However, a data by FAO revealed that sesame production reduced from its rate in 2012 to less than half of what used to be produced.
Also, there is the need for Nigeria to understand significance of standards as without this understanding, it will be difficult for the country to be competitive in the international market. Oftentimes, achievement of these standards begins from cleaning and storing commodities. The presentation by FAO also showed that about 30 percent of produced food are lost from “the field to fork”, while indicating that Buhler processing and cleaning machines can aid reduction of grain losses. Pre-cleaning process improves storability and preservation of grain quality.
GPIC to develop and verify export solutions for Nigeria.
One of the benefits of a main-cleaning process is its ability to process grains into the required product quality for more processing which increases their value and usefulness to the industry. Managing Director of Buhler Nigeria, Manuel Murrenhoff, said that the company is concerned about ensuring that everyone has access to affordable and nutritious food. He likewise emphasized the potential possibilities present in Nigeria for its possession of multiple and available grains of food which can assure food security.
Manuel noted that 5 percent of Buhler’s turnover is invested for the purpose of driving innovations to enhance food security and improvement of food safety in Nigeria. At the seminar, the head of Buhler Grain Processing Innovation Centre (GPIC), Ali Hmayed, presented the proposed plan for the almost completed innovation centre in Kano. Various kinds of local grains are traded In Kano such as sorghum, maize, beans, cashew nuts, millets, soybeans, and groundnuts. It will be focused on developing and verifying solutions through collaboration with industry stakeholders.
Commodity grains have $440 million export potential.
Sales and channel business manager at the company, Iyore Amadasun, stressed the need to make a balance between export commodities and converting it to feed the country. He said that although Nigeria’s agricultural sector has contributed over 25 percent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and is projected to increase in subsequent years, locally processed food and food supply per capita have a deficit. It is necessary that it strikes a balance for export commodities like cocoa, sesame seeds, cashew nuts and beans. Having above $440 million export potential, farmers and exporters can generate a lucrative source of revenue through export of cocoa, sesame and cashew.