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Last Updated:[16-09-2009 07:49:25 EDT] Zoom in Zoom out Back to Tradenews

Poor Agri-Infrastructure Fail Nigerian Fruit Exports

tradenews Lack of sustainable infrastructure to support farm products in Nigeria has caused inadequate supply of fruits in the market during the month of Ramadan despite having large farmlands. Nigerian fruit traders consider the month of Ramadan as the most favourable season of the year as fasting Muslims prefer fresh fruits over other food items.

Though Nigeria has vast areas of fruit farms, its exports have never been able to make a global foot print in fruit trade. This was largely due to the absence of optimum agricultural eco-system in the country including education to farmers, good roads, and refrigerated vehicles for transporting the perishable goods to main markets and so on.

The Food and Agriculture Organization data show that in 2007, Nigeria produced about 73,000 tons of mangoes, which is about 2.6 percent of the world production. Besides Mangoes, the country produces papayas, pineapples, guavas, bananas, oranges, grapes and other native fruits. Nigeria is the second largest exporter of papaya in the world after Brazil despite not having proper modern facilities.

Most of the produce never left the farmlands because farmers feared that fruits would rot on the way to the markets as bad roads and transportation facilities could not avoid such an eventuality. Many traders feel that the unexpected demand and poor reach of the fruits to the main markets have caused prices to sky-rocket during the Ramadan month.

Next, a leading source for Nigerian news, found that most of the fruits were wasted due to lack of agricultural infrastructure in the country. It said owing to Ramadan demand a small pineapple which was sold for about 33 cents last month now sells for between 55 and 75 cents.

Experts felt that if a proper agricultural infrastructure is in place, Nigeria could become one of the important fruit sourcing zones in the world. With right preservation techniques and processing facilities, the fruits could become the largest revenue earner of the country, they added.

By Jose Roy

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