By George Edomwonyi
Federation of Agricultural Commodity Association of Nigeria (FACAN) says Nigeria’s agricultural export stood at N127 billion in the first quarter of 2021.
The figure, according to the organisation, represents 128 per cent increase, compared to N55.8 billion in fourth quarter of 2020.
Chairman of FACAN, Edo chapter, Mr Enahoro Ojiefoh, stated this during the distribution of sesame seeds and cashew seedlings to farmers in Edo North Senatorial District, on Saturday.
Ojiefoh said that sesame topped the list of agro-export commodities, with an estimated export value of N41.9 billion, while cashew nuts, both in-shell and shelled, valued at N13.7 billion.
Ojiefoh said that sesame represented huge opportunities for the country in terms of generating export revenue, adding that it was a cash crop that could fetch the country $1.5 billion, if opportunities therein were maximised.
According to him, Nigeria has been one of the highest sesame seed producing countries over the years, thus making the seed an important component of the country’s agricultural export.
“Sesame seeds come from a flowering plant, mostly grown in Northern Nigeria due to the drought-resistant nature of the seed.
“Aside the fact that it has numerous health and industrial benefits and widely used for baking, medicine, cosmetics and animal feeds, it also has high oil content of about 44 per cent to 60 per cent.
“Reports have it that the global demand for the commodity is expected to grow at 4.2 per cent compound annual growth rate between 2018 and 2024.
“Nigeria is expected to key into this, considering its land mass and the fact that the sesame is drought-resistant and requires minimal fertiliser, which makes it cheaper to cultivate than other crops,” he said.
The FACAN chairman said that 55,000 cashew seedlings and 100 sesame seeds were to be distributed to farmers in the senatorial district for cultivation, stressing that the idea was to make Edo an agricultural export state.
He said that the association had designed a four-year master plan to inject one million cashew trees in multiple of hundreds yearly and 2,000 tonnes of sesame seeds yearly into the state’s economy.
Ojiefoh added that this could translate into about a minimum of N8 billion in value by the fifth year.
“But, for this to happen successfully, we humbly seek the support of the state government for, and collaboration of the private and organised sectors with, FACAN in actualising this goal within the next five years.
He urged the farmers to key into the agro-business export commodity by cultivating cashew and sesame for export production.
“FACAN will do all it takes to position you for success by being the investment broker, helping you understand the terrain and making you attractive to industries and factories, both home and abroad,” he said. (NAN)