Naija Foodie Update

FOODIE NAIJA UPDATE (WHY NIGERIA’S N15bn LOCAL SPICES POTENTIAL REMAINS UNTAPPED)

Exporting Nigeria’s local spices
to other countries of the world
could build the nation’s economy by generating huge foreign exchange and turn the lives of farmers around within a short period. Nigeria is blessed with a wide variety of spices used to boost the taste of foods, and to enhance the flavour and aroma of processed foods and beverages.
Apart from acting as seasoning,
spices are also known for their
medicinal value and are useful
in the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries.

Nigeria has the potential to
generate over N15 billion annually from these local spices if properly harnessed because the country is blessed with a large variety of them with very high grade. He said, “for instance, ginger doubles as a popular herb and spice and is popularly used in its fresh, powdered and dried forms, even as a juice or oil. Potential investors stand to make millions of dollars within few months in spices business if they do it right. Dried ginger is sold in the international market at the rate of $6000 to $7000 per metric
tonne while in the local market
it is sold for $3,500.”

According to statistics by the
Nigerian Chamber of Commerce
and Industry, NACCIMA the non-
oil product export sector is rapidly on the rise. The demand for local spices like ginger, onions, garlic, chilli pepper and turmeric, among others, is huge both locally and
internationally. Daily Sun learnt that thousands of hotels across the country, coupled with the numerous fast food and restaurants, are in need of these species everyday, which has made local production and marketing of spices a good and successful business in Nigeria.

At the international market, locally produced spices are a foreign exchange earner as they are in great demand by Indians,
Chinese, Japanese, Spanish,
Germans and Greek, even in
United Kingdom and America.
Today, the world’s spices industry is said to be generating hundreds of billions of dollars annually for farmers and investors, but reverse is the case for Nigeria, as the country still spends millions of naira annually to import spices, which can be grown and virtually processed for export and local consumption. Industry watchers say over the years, some countries have been making huge revenue
exporting their spices but some
African countries, including Nigeria, consume most of their
spices locally instead of turning
them into foreign exchange
earners.

They argue that the spices industry has been neglected and Nigerians are not exploiting its potential as the call for strong political will to encourage business men to turn the potential in local spices into a goldmine.
For years now, Ethiopia has been one of the major active players in export of spices to other countries, raking huge foreign exchange. In 2012 alone, Ethiopia reportedly
earned over $700 million from
export of spices. Since then, the country has been improving on the business and generating revenue from it.

Speaking with Daily Sun, the
Coordinator of Community of
Agricultural Stakeholders of
Nigeria (CASON), Mr. Sotonye
Anga, said that there is huge
possibility for local spices to
generate foreign exchange
because these spices are
ingredients for preparing food
around the world. He hinted that if spices are given serious attention, they can generate over N15 billion annually because Nigeria has a whole lot of garlic, onions, ginger, turmeric, pepper whose combined capacity is huge when it comes to export markets.

He explained: “When you talk of
Nigerian ginger, it is so spicy and pungent. I think Nigeria’s spices defeat the food African pungent spice varieties and that puts it in a class of its own globally. That is also responsible for our outstanding divine pattern. Going forward, we need to exploit this opportunity across the Asian and other countries to earn foreign
exchange and getting our farmers to earn more for growing these crops on a very high commercial basis.

“These spices, for instance, stand out because of their hot nature. With the grade of spices from Nigeria, it is outstanding if you compare it to spices from other places. Our grade of spices are pungent, aromatic and they are outstanding, and that would also be a huge basket of wealth waiting to be harnessed. We just need to harness it right now and this the best time to harness this
potential!.

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