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Facts emerge on why Nigerian farmers can’t stop exporting raw agro products

Though Nigerian agricultural experts have advised farmers to stop exporting raw materials, but rather add value to the products to generate higher revenue, development economist, Dr. Ibrahim Ahmed has given reasons why the trend may not change very soon.

In an interview with Business Hilights Abuja Bureau chief weekend, he said “Farmers are virtually on their own from cultivation to harvesting and packaging for export for now as government assistance to them cannot be said to be enough”.

He said “Government has not created the needed environment for more investors that will buy over the raw agro products from the not-well-informed farmers to process them into various products that will yield better foreign exchange”.

Only last week, the Chief Executive Officer of Best Foods Global Limited, Dr. Emmanuel Ijewere, said farming only accounted for about 20 per cent of activities in the agribusiness sector, while value addition and other value chain activities were responsible for the remaining 80 per cent.

He explained that the cashew being produced in Nigeria and exported at a meagre sum was merely roasted in Vietnam and sold for a higher price.

According to him, the difference in unit prices was about $20, adding that if Nigerians had taken the pain to ‘roast it’, they would have realised higher revenue.

Explaining issues at the Moringa Export Launch in Lagos, Ijewere noted that Nigeria was poor by choice and not be nature otherwise.

He said “Nigeria is blessed with resources needed to grow, process agricultural produce, earn good revenue and enrich the populace. Nigerians spent time on things not available in the country, rather than concentrate on available resources to make a living.

“Nigeria is poor by choice. We have an untapped multi-trillion naira agribusiness economy. All we have to do is focus on value addition before exportation. However, the focus should not be on exportation only. There should be a balance between production for exportation and production for local consumption,” Ijewere stated.

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