GINGER FARMING AND THE DANGER ON ECONOMIC DIVERSIFICATION

BY ISIYAKU MUSA KACHIA

Nigeria ranked fourth in the world after India, China, Nepal with Thailand been the fifth on the list. Nigeria has a ginger production capacity of 160,000 metric tonnes representing 7.8% of the ginger produced in the entire world. This statistics are available as of January 15th, 2014. If one checked at the figure representing India alone, which is the world largest producer and consumer of ginger, with the capacity of producing 702,000 metric tonnes with a (34.6%) representation, apart from consuming they can produce more than what three countries combined can produce to earn more foreign exchange, while China produced 388,886 metric tonnes (19.1%), then followed by Nepal with 216,289 metric tonnes representing (10.6%) and finally, Thailand in the fifth position produced about 152,630 metric tonnes representing (7.5%) which is very close to that of Nigeria in terms of capacity. However, this top five list may include official, semiofficial or estimated data gathered by the food and agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

Ginger is a tropical species native to South East Asia and is the underground stem(rhizome) of a perennial herb, which is used as a spice and a preserve. The English term ‘ginger’ originated from Sanskrit word ‘Sringavera’, Botanically known as ‘Zingiber Officinale’, it’s the most popular spice in the world. Ginger as a root plant with, high medicinal and food value, the plant is cultivated in large quantities by many farmers in Nigeria especially in the northern part. In fact, the whole Ginger produced in Nigeria is from Kaduna state and specifically in ,the old Kachia Local Government currently segmented into Jaba, Kachia and Kagarko Local Government Councils respectively. Kachia Ginger root is the best that is used in Nigeria to produce herbal medicines and in homes to spice up food. The root can be found virtually in every local market either dried or fresh.

The demand for ginger in the international market has gone up significantly because the root is now being used as raw material in manufacturing process. Ginger oil extract is used as raw material for producing drugs, food and confectioneries by companies in America, Canada, Japan, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and some countries in Europe and these are the major importers of ginger. In the international market Ginger is very high demanded and therefore opportunity exist.

Now, the current economic diversification of APC administration which agriculture is the main driver of this project because of it’s quick employment generation capacity, coupled with it’s limitedless opportunities along the value chain of each identified crop that is included in the program. What do I mean by value chain? It simply means, for a single crop to be produced, wealths are created along the line, from where you buy your seeds ->to farm= to labourers in the farm= to fertilizer sellers= to harvest= to buyer in the market= to Dan Dako (load carrier)= to company= to process= to package=to transport= to markets and to consumer. Each stage of the chain is money and job opportunity for our people which are farmers and suppliers in this case, and for both local and foreign investors. Both local and most especially foreign investor has a particular point of entry into the market depending on the opportunity he identified along the chain of production.

For Ginger farming, as an identified cash and included crop in the diversification program in Kaduna state, with high potentiality to attract foreign direct investment into our economy, and at the same time, would help to boost and conserve the country’s foreign reserve through export by earning more Dollars not only for Kaduna State but for the country’s ailing economy at this recession period. It has already created thousands of job locally, but, is only a matter of sustaining and protecting the existing Ginger jobs by Kaduna state government.

The problems:!

1. Before we use to have buyers of this commodity only from local source that is; different parts of these country and neighboring African countries because there is high demand of Ginger and the business for farmers and suppliers were very lucrative and rewarding, until during Boko Haram and southern Kaduna crisis as a result of post 2011 presidential election, that came about and hit the business badly. Later people from far and near most especially Asians and north African nationals have started coming to buy from us. But the problem here is that, they are the one who determine the price of this commodity at the expense of farmers who spent so much but in the end earning so little because, they are not longer waiting in market stage of the value chain for our local suppliers to supply them with the goods but, they jumped to buy directly from farms which is killing thousands of jobs at this stage.

2. The worst is that, they now explore the vulnerability of our business environment and weaknesses of our laws or the negligence of those who supposed to implement these laws if there is any on these business opportunity (Ginger farming in particular), to monitor the activities of any investor in any of our communities. They are now involved in farming Ginger which is another efforts to displace as many thousands as possible from another critical stage of the chain if measures are not taken to tackle this dangerous trend. From buyer to producer? And more negatively and dangerously DETERMINER OR CONTROLLER OF PRICE? yes! Because they have the money to buy and now they also have the capacity to produced and as well to determine how much to buy from you simply they are in control of the entire system.

Way forward:
1. Kaduna state Investment Promotional Agency (KADIPA) must step up to its responsibility as one-stop investment centre  for doing business and investment in Kaduna state most especially by initiating, promoting, and coordinating investments through PPP. It is high time to develop and implement a comprehensive strategy and action plans to attract and facilitate new investment in Ginger production and processing by adequately monitoring, evaluating, implementing, executing and delivery of projects as contained in investment agreements.

2. Our local business men and women who specialized in Ginger trade and ready export this commodity to foreign markets should be organize in group, train and be guided on anything that it takes to export it by KADIPA, so that our people can earn the best of profit. This would solve the problem of waiting for some one to come and determine how much to sell your commodity.

3. KADIPA should as a matter of urgency facilitate the revival and put to use Kachia Ginger Processing Company for value addition and Job creation which will enhance security situation of southern Kaduna and Kaduna State at large.

4. Finally, Local farmers must be supported with inceptive and farm inputs, soft loan and machineries to mechanise our farming in other to meet up with  the global Ginger demand. Because India and China attained that production capacity simply of their mechanise system and commitment in agribusiness.

isiyakumusa2011@gmail.com

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