For decades, Nigeria’s non-oil exports had been plagued with challenges ranging from inadequate and decaying infrastructures to inefficient marketing arrangement. For stakeholders in the agro-product sector, the rejection of Nigeria’s exported food items by EU and other countries across the globe has been a major setback to making the agricultural sector a major revenue earner. Experts have observed that lack of warehouse, processing and storage facilities had been a major factor in the decline of agro-based exports.
Despite all these challenges, ginger export accounts for 23% of the country’s GDP according to Nigeria Export Statistics. This is largely connected to its domestic and industrial use. In a report published in 2020 by Tridge titled, ‘Analysis on the Ginger Industry in Nigeria,’ the economic potentials for Nigerian ginger were carefully explored. In 2016, Nigeria was the third-highest exporter of ginger, preceded by China and India. In 2017, Nigeria had a world production share of 11.5%, representing 349.9k tones of ginger. Over the years, the production of ginger in Nigeria has been on an increase. Nigeria produces approximately 37k metric tons of fresh ginger annually. Out of these, 10 percent is consumed freshly locally while 90percent is consumed in its dried form. Meanwhile, Nigerian ginger is rated as one of the best in the international market due to its pungency and high-level of oleoresin oil which is a highly sought-out ingredient. Owing to the fact that the domestic consumption for Nigerian ginger is relatively small in comparison with those sold in the global market, it is then clear that ginger processing plays a key role in the value chain in making sure that the ginger meets international quality standards for overseas consumers.
Although Nigeria accounts for 14% of the global market share of ginger production, it only earns just $1m from export annually. According to experts, the global ginger processing market is expected to grow at a cumulative annual growth rate of 13.4 percent between 2021 and 2026.
In order to strengthen the agricultural value chain, Truvis Agro Services Ltd recently opened a new ginger processing plant in the commercial heart of Lagos, Ojota to be precise to increase the FOB value of ginger to the Nigerian farmer which is currently less than 10% due mainly to the unavailability of such a processing plant. Christened Truvis Ginger Processing Plant, the processing plant houses a state-of-the-art cold storage facility and Ginger Processing and washing Machine to deliver fresh ginger for international markets. In a chat with the CEO, Truvis Agro Services, Mr. Debo Abodunrin, he described the international fresh ginger market as ‘highly lucrative.’
“Without capacity for cold storage, it is impossible to enter that space. We can now; process and hold fresh produce at the internationally acceptable temperature and be able to deliver the produce to Europe, UK, and the United States. With this facility, we can prevent self-heating and spontaneous combustion, odor, contamination, toxicity, and insect infestations among other. All these factors are what make it difficult to export fresh ginger,’’ he revealed.
Currently, the fully-refrigerated facility can hold up to 20 tons of fresh produce between seven to ten degrees Celsius in food grade baskets from where they are stored in 50kg jute bags ready for export to the international markets in refrigerated containers. With this new facility, it is possible for farmers to sell all their products at the fresh market value. This tech-driven facility also contributes to the labour market with over 40 members of staff that boasts of 80% female workers.
“The project will contribute extensively to Nigeria’s export promotion and economic diversification drive. With this facility, we will be able to earn an additional $10-20million per annum from fresh ginger export. We currently have a two-ton per hour processing machine. We intend to double this capacity in the next two years as well as expand our current temperature-controlled holding area from 20 to 60 tons,’’ he added.
Prior to acquiring this facility, Nigeria played only in the dried ginger space and has been a secondary exporting nation despite being the third largest ginger producer in the world. Smaller producers like Venezuela currently have a larger export capacity than Nigeria for ginger. Abodunrin further disclosed that with the new ginger plant, export routes had been secured in markets across Europe, UK and the United States.
The key to making any serious impact in the agriculture value chain is to invest in value adding facilities. With this investment, Truvis Ginger Processing plant has repositioned Nigeria for export of ginger significantly with this processing plant.
For Truvis Agro Services LTD, CEO, promoting sustainable agriculture round the year is crucial to export promotion, employment and economic growth. The importance of agricultural development in ensuring poverty reduction and the economic growth hinges on the fact that 70% of the population is employed in the agricultural sector.