Technology, seeds hinder Nigeria’s ginger potential
by Josephine Okojie
October 4, 2017 | 1:22 am| | | Start Conversation
Low use of technology and low quality seeds has continued to hinder the country’s ginger potential as the country has seen it production stagnated over a period of time, farmers say.
Industry data shows that the country has seen its export declined on a quarter to quarter basis owing to its inability to boost productivity and increase its yield per hectare.
Data from the Bureau of Statistics trade report shows that the country’s ginger production declined by 6 percent on a quarter-on-quarter basis. The subsector declined from N706 million in Q1 to N664 million in Q2.
“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 reason while 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.
Ginger is one of the most widely used food seasoning 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, refrigerated or frozen or fresh which is peeled before consumption. The plant is used as a spice and a major ingredient in a wide array of dishes.
It serves as a by-product to numerous food and beverage industries. It is used for the production of ginger wine and also for food seasoning in most Asia countries. Powdered ginger is used in the production of flavor which is utilized in a variety of recipes such as cakes, cookies, bread, crackers, ginger ale, and beer.
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 majority of its ginger which makes Nigeria the third highest exporter of the crop globally.
Ginger is produced in six states of the Federation namely, Kaduna, Nasarawa, Benue, Niger and Gombe with Kaduna as the major producing state.
Nigeria ginger season last from October to February. Currently, a ton of fresh ginger is sold for $1,000 at the international market.
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