NIGERIAN VEGETABLE EXPORTS STILL LOW
Nigeria’s export of edible vegetables remains vastly unexploited, according to the International Trade Centre (ITC).
The ITC reported that edible vegetables, tuber and roots exports from Nigeria constituted only three per cent of world’s imports.
India remains the largest importer of Nigeria’s edible vegetables. It imported 47 .91 per cent of edible vegetables, tuber and roots.
United States’ imports were 13. 17 per cent last year, while United Kingdom share of vegetables imports from Nigeria stood at 4.97 percent. United Arab Emirates (UAE) imported 5.91 per cent of Nigeria’s vegetables.
Exports to Netherlands stood at 0.09 per cent; Sri Lanka ,1. 31 per cent and Turkey 1.97 per cent.
Last year, there were no record of vegetables imports from Hong Kong, Greece, Indonesia, kenya, Cuba, France, China, Denmark, Ethiopia and Chile.
According to the Agricultural Fresh Produce Growers and Exporters Association of Nigeria (AFPGEAN), Nigeria loses between 55 per cent and 72 per cent of its cultivated fresh produce (fruits and vegetables) before it can be consumed, much less exported.
Early this year, the Italian Trade Agency (ITA), wooed Nigerian agric produce exporters following demands of fruits and vegetables in the European market.
The ITA is a governmental agency that supports the business development, partnerships and collaborations between Italian companies and their local counterparts, which launched the first E-Lab Innova in Nigeria. The ICE Faculty Trainer, Enrico Turino, said Nigerian produce exporters have opportunities to penetrate the European market with vegetables, gingers, avocados, and others.
“There is the market asking for more fruits and vegetables because the European consumes what everything on the table, not only when it is available that is why I give example of the winter time.
“If you don’t produce the right variety of fruit or vegetable you cannot enter the market, and it is very important to get this information, in other words this source of information is important for the Nigerian producer, and also to visit supermarkets and wholesale markets, technology producers in Europe, especially Italy. Nigerian farmers should take information from the Innova Gap Certification”, he said.
Turino also urged producer exporters to get in touch with importers in Europe in order to have clear information about what they need, type and variety of produce.
“So it is a very interesting one, I only suggest to the producer to visit trade shows where they could talk with importers on what they need in terms of quantity, quality, type, variey needed in the European market.
In Africa, Egypt is the leading exporter of hibiscus with Morocco coming second and Nigeria occupying a third place. The Federation of Agricultural Commodities Association of Nigeria (FACAN) President, Dr. Victor Iyama, had in the past, called for the establishment of standard sanitary and phyto-sanitary labs in the country, as well as an increase hibiscus processing.
Last year, Nigeria exported agricultural products worth N321.5 billion, representing a 19.16 per cent increase when compared to N269.8 billion recorded in 2019 and a 6.27 per cent increase compared to N302.28 billion recorded in 2018.
However, despite the increase recorded in export, imported agricultural goods surged by 78.58 per cent in 2020 compared to 2019. Nigeria imported agricultural goods worth N1.71 trillion in 2020 as against N959.5 billion in 2019.