One of the agricultural exports in Nigeria, Shea butter, is capable of fetching the country a foreign exchange earning of over $10 billion annually, with value addition and internationally acceptable packaging standard compliance.
This was revealed by the Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Export Promotion Council, Mr Olusegun Awolowo, during a workshop on Shea butter and acceptable practices for stakeholders across cashew valued chain, in Ilorin, Kwara State.
Awolowo, who spoke through the Assistant Director, NEPC, Mr Samson Idowu explained that, if Nigeria can make the right investments in growing, harnessing and processing the agricultural product to international standard, Shea butter has the potential of surpassing crude oil to become Nigeria’s top revenue earner. He said:
“Rather than using it (shea butter) manually, if you add value to it, there are opportunities along the value chain in cosmetic, food industry and pharmaceuticals. Among these key SUB SECTORS, there are areas we can add value and make more foreign earning. The international value of shea butter is in billions. We need to close some gaps such as capacity and finance.
“If we do the right investment, Nigeria can earn $10 billion annually from shea butter export; If we make the right investments in the areas of processing and value addition to the actual export.”
Shea butter Production in Nigeria
According to him, Nigeria remains one of the top producers of Shea butter in the world. Also speaking, the Director-General, Federal Institute for Industrial Research, Oshodi, Prof. Gladys Elemo, who was represented by the Director, Chemical, Fibre and Environmental Technology, FIRRO, Dr Chima Igwe, said the workshop was to spur the processors of Shea butter to increase their output, so that Nigeria’s Shea butter production can increase.
She added that the production level of shea in Nigeria, especially the nuts, did not match the country’s required export. She further explained that less than 25% of Nigeria’s Shea production, especially nuts, are exported and that Nigeria produce an estimated quantity of about 500,000 metric tonnes of shea nuts annually.
“Nigeria can earn $10bn annually from export of shear products, Nigeria is one of the largest producers of shear nuts in the world. We produce an estimated quantity of about 500,000 metric tonnes of shear nuts annually. We export less than 25 per cent of this quantity.”
Shea and Agric Exports Earnings
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reported that Nigeria earned ₦101.97 million from the export of only Shea oil in the first quarter of 2018.
Also, the total value of exported agricultural products in Q2 2018 was ₦85.9 billion, compared to ₦73.25 billion in the previous quarter of Q1 2018, showing a strong quarter on quarter growth of 17.3%. Also, total agricultural exports in Nigeria grew by 127.3% on a year on year basis, from ₦37.79 billion in Q2 2017.