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How $4bn global ginger market creates opportunity for Nigerian farmers, exporters

Nigerian farmers can tap into the $3billion global ginger market to earn foreign exchange as the country explores opportunities to grow its non-oil export.

Also, exporters can take advantage to create wealth while earning FX in exporting the crop fresh, dried and process.

Ginger, one of the most widely used food seasonings in modern diets could play a vital role in earning substantial dollars for the country as local and global demand for the crop continues to rise.

It is a crop that is largely grown in Kaduna, Nasarawa, Benue, Niger, Gombe, and Kano state. It serves as a by-product to numerous food and beverage industries and used for the production of ginger wine and food seasoning in most Asian countries.

“There is a great export opportunity in ginger production for the country. Nigeria has one of the best-flavoured varieties globally,” said AfricanFarmer Mogaji, chief executive officer, Farm Credit Nigeria.

“The $4billion global market is an opportunity that farmers can tap into, especially now that the country is in need of growing its export,” Mogaji said who is also the agric head, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI).

He stated that for the country to increase its production of the ginger crop, the government must support farmers to enable them to expand their production areas and boost productivity.

Ginger is one of the most widely used food seasonings in modern diets. It is actually part of the plant family that includes turmeric cardamom that has huge health benefits.

Ginger can be consumed in different forms which include in powder form or in fresh – peeling before consumption. The plant is used as a spice and a major ingredient in a wide array of dishes.

Powdered ginger is used in the production of flavour which is utilised in a variety of recipes such as cakes, cookies, bread, crackers, ginger ale, and beer.

Its root is used as a raw material in manufacturing health products, drinks and by bakery industry.

Nigeria’s ginger production is put at 31 million metric tons while demand is put at 65 million MT, leaving a supply-demand gap of 34 million MT, according to data from the Ministry of Agriculture.

The country exports the majority of its ginger which makes Nigeria the third highest exporter of the crop globally.

Despite the potential in the production of the crop, the country is yet to fully harness the economic benefits from growing ginger, on account of low-quality seeds and low use of technology, say farmers.

“Most ginger farmers are not using tractors and other machines for land preparation. This is hindering our ability to increase our ginger production because farmers cannot increase their farming areas owing to the huge manual labour involved but with tractors, we can farm on a larger scale,” said Zackari Mohammed, a ginger farmer in Kastina.

“We are still using local knife to split harvested ginger rhizomes but in China and India, there is a machine for that. We lack modern processing machines for washing, peeling, splitting and drying kilns.

“Getting quality seeds is also a major issue for us farmers. It is difficult to get quality ginger seeds and most of the seeds in the country are of low quality. These are some of the reasons why we are yet to increase our yield per hectare.

He stated that the demand for the country’s ginger is increasing yearly but the production to meet up with the huge demand has been stagnant.

This shows that there are opportunities for investors who would want to invest in seeds and in the provision of easily fabricated machines in splitting the harvested ginger rhizomes.

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