A pandemic-induced increase in the global demand for ginger has seen the price of the spice surge from N4,000 for a 50kg bag to N15,000, an increase of nearly 400% within two years, benefitting both growers and exporters in the country.
In a report by Reuters on Tuesday, ginger farmers in Kaduna revealed that demand far outweighs supply, which is a boost for local production.
“If I had the capital, I’d plant more. People are looking for ginger now, and there is not enough,” Karima M. Imam said.
Another ginger producer, Hebile Abu revealed that demand is so high, that buyers are willing to pay any price in tonnes, and can’t even get enough.
In April this year, Nairametrics put out a report highlighting Nigeria’s agro products with the highest export value in the year 2020. Although ginger did not make the top five, it finished 6th with an export value of N6.15 billion, behind sesame seed (N98.27 billion), cocoa (N87.44 billion), Cashew nuts (N45.88 billion), Frozen foods (N7.78 billion), and Shea (N6.47 billion).
Florence Edwards, national president of the Ginger Growers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria confirmed in the report that prices of ginger started rising early last year and skyrocketed during a pandemic-fuelled boom.
Why this matters
The demand for ginger, which is a natural remedy for colds, has surged in the wake of the covid-19 pandemic as people all over the world grasp at even the slimmest hope of a remedy for the dreaded influenza-like viral disease. Farmers in Nigeria see the opportunity to grow more of this agricultural commodity and earn more through export but many, like Karima Imam, may be constrained in the areas of funding, farm input and agricultural extension services.
The surge in demand for ginger is an opportunity to move the commodity up the list of agricultural exports in Nigeria, earning more forex for the nation. The federal government, through its various agro intervention programs, notably the CBN’s Anchor Borrowers’ Program (ABP) should pay more attention to the sector especially since ginger is listed as a ‘targeted commodity of comparative advantage to the State’ in the ABP guidelines.