In a bid to take advantage of the Federal Government’s efforts to boost agricultural output, a Nigerian Start-up, Integrated Produce City Ltd is set to launch the first agricultural commodities exchange in the country.
According to the Chief Executive Officer Prof.Pat Utomi, the exchange will be located near southern city of Benin, about 300 kilometres (186 miles) east of Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial hub a site accessible to nearby growers of cocoa, palm oil, rubber and cassava.
“The concept of a wholesale-produce market is to enable the farmer to fully dispose of his produce, instead of today where he loses 80 percent of his output” that rots before it can reach the market, Utomi said on Aug. 18 in the capital, Abuja.
As reported by Bloomberg, Integrated Produce City will have storage facilities, including refrigerated warehouses, and host processing plants on its 100-hectare (247-acre) site in Edo state’s Ugbokun village when it takes off by the end of 2018.
He added that it will be an export hub where exporters will have access to large quantities stored in one place rather than sending agents to individual farmers to collect small amounts.
In terms of funding, Utomi said the company has put up 20% of the required $135 million and is in talks with lenders and investors from South Africa, China and Australia for additional capital.
A spokeman for the new exchange, Vitus Akudinobi said Integrated Produce City signed an agreement with KPMG LLP’s Nigerian unit on Monday to help it raise more capital for the exchange.
Produce to be traded on the exchange
According to Akudinobi, cocoa, palm produce, cashew nuts and rubber are among the products to be traded on the agricultural commodities exchange.
Others are fresh fruit and vegetables, grains and tubers such as cassava and yams, adding that local manufacturing companies will be able to buy agricultural goods at the exchange.
“Among the factories we’re trying to attract are chocolate makers,” he said. “The entire cocoa value-chain will be represented.”