Sunday, 21 July 2019


Exports of agricultural goods dropped by N11.2bn in three months from N97.3bn in the fourth quarter of 2018 to N86.1bn in the first quarter of 2019, representing 11.89 per cent decrease, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics.

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During the quarter under review, Nigeria exported N39.6bn worth of broken and unbroken sesame seed, N20.1bn good fermented cocoa beans, N9.8bn superior quality raw cocoa beans, N4.3bn cashew nuts in shell, N2.4bn frozen shrimps and prawns, N1.4bn other raw cocoa beans, N1.4bn ginger, N1.2bn natural cocoa butter and shelled cashew nuts worth N1.1bn.

Others are; Agro food items worth N922.6m, ginger (neither ground nor crushed) N550.3m, other cut fresh, dried and dyed flowers & flower buds used for ornamental purposes N513.2m, sesame seed and its fractions, N404.3m, other plants and parts of plants used in perfumery N321.6m, other butter of cocoa and deodorised cocoa N279.3m, Nigerian cotton lint, N210.6m, and Corsia Tora N179.6m.

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Comparative analysis of the data showed that Nigeria exported N33.9bn worth of broken and unbroken sesame seed in Q4 2018, which was N5.7bn less than the volume exported in Q1 2019, N24.5bn worth of fermented cocoa beans, representing an increase of N4.4bn over the volume exported in Q1, N9.6bn superior quality raw cocoa beans, representing a decrease of N200m over the volume exported in Q1 2019.

The country also exported N5.8bn cashew nuts in shell, which was N1.5bn more than the value exported in Q1 2019, N4bn sesame oil and its fractions, indicating N3.6bn more than the value exported in Q1 2019.

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Other exports in the last quarter of 2018 include; N5.4bn other quality raw cocoa beans, N3.7bn other shrimps and prawns, N1.7bn cashew nuts in shell, N1.3bn other coconuts, fresh or dried, whether or not shelled or peeled, N1.3bn other butter of cocoa and deodorised cocoa, N1.2bn other cut flowers & flower buds of kind suitable ornamental purposes fresh, dried, dyed, N983m agro food, N653m natural cocoa butter, N541m other fresh fruits, N461.2m other non-frozen flours, meals and pellets of crustaceans, fit for human consumption, N307m cocoa beans, and N302.5m mixtures.

Conversely, imported agricultural products were 7.98 per cent higher in value in Q1 than Q4 2018, and 28.1 per cent higher than in Q1, 2018. In the past few years, the agricultural sector has progressively taken a hit from the difficulty in getting goods to the ports on time. Agricultural products spend weeks and sometimes months getting to the port because of the gridlock at Apapa port.

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When the goods eventually get to their destination, they are returned because they are no longer fresh. Another factor is scarcity and high cost of export crops arising from the insecurity in certain parts of the country.

“The insecurity arising from herdsmen attacks on farms and farmers has kept people away from the farms and this has already started taking a toll on food production in the major food baskets of the nation,” the President, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Babatunde Ruwase, said.

The Registrar, Chattered Institute of Export and Commodity Brokers, Adeshina Adenuga, blamed the drop on the reluctance of the country to wean itself off oil exports. He said by the time attention was paid to non-oil export and resources and efforts were invested in preparing for it, the agro exports would increase.

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Speaking on the sideline of the investiture of the third President of the Institute of Export and Commodity Brokers in Lagos, he said, “Training of exporters is important in the growth of the non-oil export sector. People need to be trained on packaging and other tricks of export. That is what the institute specializes in.” (Punch)

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