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Saturday, August 10, 2013

Tomato, PineApple: We’re largest producers in Africa –Odusote

NaijaAgroNet/Remmy Nweke:

THE Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) Mrs. Ibukun Odusote, has disclosed that Nigeria is the largest producer of Tomatoes and PineApples out of the Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).

She made this disclosure to NaijaAgroNet, during the 2013 international conference of the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS) in Iloko, Osun State, citing the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) an arm of the United Nations as making this pronouncement.

FOA Statistics confirmed to NaijaAgroNet that Nigeria is the biggest tomato producer in Sub-Saharan Africa and the 14th largest tomato producer globally, while on PineApple, Nigeria was also ranked largest producer on the continent and the 8th globally.

Nigeria, she said, has these fruits, especially PineApples in several varieties which are grown in locally.
“The sweet cayenne variety is common in Nigeria and well suited,” she declared.

Dwelling on “Opportunities for Investments in Nigeria’s Agriculture” in her presentation, Mrs. Odusote said that there are new and attractive investment opportunities in Nigeria, especially in the juice processing industry.

“Nigeria has a comparative advantage in fruit production relative to other African nations” she asserted, pointing out that Nigeria is the largest producer of pineapples in Africa and the 8th largest producer in the world with different varieties.

Using the 2011 favourable production comparison, she said that Nigeria produces 920,000 tonnes in PineApple, 795,000 Mangoes and 139,223 Watermelon within the period under review. This was against Kenya and South Africa which ranked second and third with Kenya recording 371,310 in PineApple production, 636,585 mangoes and 66,196 watermelon, whereas South Africa recorded 108,636 of PineApple, 52,318 of Mangoes and 77,993 of Watermelon.

For Tomatoes, she revealed that Nigeria produced 1,500 tonnes within the period under review with Cameroon coming close with 880, South Africa 507, Kenya 407, Ghana 340, Tanzania 250 and Benin 180.

However, she underscored the fact that tomatoes are not processed locally, leading to increasing import dependency of tomato paste in Nigeria despite the ranking in production.

“In the tomato value chain, processing is where an investor can capture the greatest economic value,” she said, adding that economics of the Tomato value chain in Nigeria which cuts across production, aggregation and logistics, processing of both paste and concentrate and finally retail, noting that concentrate could be an intermediate product of tomato paste with less water content, concentrate is generally produced for industrial use while paste is for domestic use.

She cited Dansa Foods for instance, disclosing that the firm invested $30 million in Tomato farming and processing in Kano State.

Also, she highlighted Beef processing as another investable option within the domestic market, saying opportunity for beef is large and growing and has today, about 310 metric tonnes of overall demands for consumption per capita and is expected to grow to 650 tonnes by 2020.

Some of the existing resource endowment, currently, she said, involves 19 million heads of cattle, adding that there are 15 states with about 500,000 heads of cattle each.

About 85 million hectares of uncultivated arable land with grassland resources was placed at 54 per cent of total land area under pasture, yet, there is supplementary feed available in forest areas

He emphasised that existing cattle production knowledge and capabilities are inherent Nigeria with the traditional Fulani livelihood, informal industry players from cattle rearers, traders to transporters and butchers.
In particular, she noted that the market for premium segments is rapidly developing including the growing quality conscious segment for the middle class segment which demands more high quality beef in hygienic conditions.

She highlighted type of beef demanded moving from unsophisticated raw cuts; types in open-air markets to prime cuts and mince to name a few. While the market has estimated size of $300million, increasing in the number of formal retail outlets and rapid expansion of outlets by supermarkets serving the middleclass over past 5 years with plans underway to at least double number of outlets by 2020.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government (FG) has added a total of 1,070,364 metric tonnes of food in 2013, says the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD).

Odusote disclosed to NaijaAgroNet, noting that this figure is one-third of the total paddy needed to be self-sufficient by 2015.

She attributed this to the Agriculture Transformation Agenda (ATA)-based Dry Season Rice Transformation supported 268,000 farmers on 264,000 hectares in 10 northern states.

Also, she said the Dry Season farming added a total of 1 million metric tonnes (MT) to the domestic production.

She explained that this year alone, and for first time ever, Nigeria launched Dry Season farming of rice to take advantage of irrigation capacity in the North of Nigeria, stressing that Federal Government provided massive support for dry season rice cultivation in 10 states.

A total of 267,491 farmers, she said, received 50 kilogrammes (kg) of seeds, two bags of 15-15 NPK and one bag Urea.

“This has added an additional 1,070,364 MT of food in 2013. This is one-third of total paddy needed to be self-sufficient by 2015,” she declared.

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