Agric

March 22, 2024

FG to restore hope in ginger farming, set up presidential task force

FG to restore hope in ginger farming, set up presidential task force

By Ibrahim Hassan-Wuyo

Executive Director/CEO of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council, Mrs Nonye Ayeni ,has said that they were  aware that trust in ginger farming is low among farmers and exporters and it might take 2-3 years to recover previous export volumes.

“With the setting-up of the president task force on ginger in place, solutions are needed to restore hope in the sector and overcome future occurrences of the disease,” she said.

Mrs Nonye spoke at the Field Trials workshop on the development of policy framework for farm inputs support scheme program in the agri- food export sector held in Kaduna State University, Kafanchan Campus, Kaduna State.

“I am highly delighted to welcome the various farmers group this field trials workshop on ginger value –chain in southern Kaduna..  The Program is targeted towards development of a framework to support small-holder famers in the Nigeria agri-food export sector with farm inputs for selected crop value chains,” she said.

She explained that “the selected value-chains are commodities which Nigeria have comparative advantage in production with growing export demand. The support scheme program will be targeted at small-holder farmers in rural communities’ vulnerable groups, women and youths to promote inclusiveness.  It will target farmers groups and clusters in primary production who in most cropping season suffered unpredictable post-harvest losses due to floods, adverse weather conditions, pest attacked and crop diseased.”

“Ginger is among the crop value-chain selected for the program and Kaduna state is the leading producing state in Nigeria, hence the choice of southern Kaduna for this field trials workshop.

Distinguished audience, it is sad to note that the outbreak of the ginger fungal wilt disease last year in Southern Kaduna, been the major producing hub for ginger in Nigeria  has devastated the ginger crop in 2023 and led to loss of harvest (estimated to be 50-80% less than previous year). “

“We are aware that trust in ginger farming is low among farmers and exporters and it might take 2-3 years to recover previous export volumes. With the setting-up of the president task force on ginger in place, solutions are needed to restore hope in the sector and overcome future occurrences of the disease.”

“To recover the Nigeria ginger export sector as fast as possible it is of utmost importance: That farmers learn about preventive and curative measures against the fungal/bacteria wilt disease in particular and good agricultural practices in general.

That exporting companies learn how to work directly with the farmers group and cooperatives. To address this, two main activities are being proposed by the NEPC.

The establishment of a ginger demonstration farm in southern Kaduna with the joint collaboration of the following donor partners: Center for the promotion of Imports from Developing Countries, CBI, Netherlands Dutch Embassy in Nigeria COLEAD Ginger exporting Companies

Capacity building programs in the sector on good agricultural practices, GAP for small-holder famers in primary production to prevent future occurrences of the disease and improve ginger yield in general.”

“Considering the impact of farmer education in helping farmers to comply with standards in production practices, the Council has over time-initiated intervention programs to support small-holder farmers who produces the larger volume of our agro export commodity with various farm inputs to improve their farming practices in compliance with good agricultural practices, GAP. It is noted that the structure of Nigeria’s agri-food exports is mainly characterized by dependence on primary production which accounts for the country’s non-oil export earnings in the agricultural export sector of the economy, interventions in supporting small-holder farmers with farm inputs in priority value-chains and building their capacity will improve yield and productivity, boost export and increase household income.”

“Distinguished participants, the council will continue to work closely with the small holder farmers, processors of Nigeria key export commodities with necessary interventions and support in areas of capacity building, lending support with agro farm inputs, support to acquire vital product quality certification, grants etc.to improve on their productivity. While thanking you all for honouring our invitation, I wish to assure you of the Council’s commitment to ensure continues collaboration with stakeholders for inclusive and sustainable participation of our SMEs in the export business.Thank you all for your kind attention,” she said.

In his remarks, Prof Ibrahim Abba Sodangi of the Department of Crop Science, Kaduna State University, described Kaduna as the major ginger producing state in Nigeria.

According to him,Southern Kaduna is the main producing zone, with over 95% of the country’s total production(Okafor in 2002).”

” 90% of ginger produced in Nigeria is dried primarily for export while 20% is locally consumed,(Guchemann in 2010).”

He listed the causes and contributing factors to loses in the ginger value chain, to include poor soil fertility,shortage of improved cultivars, poor agronomic practices,effect of pest and diseases, poor post harvest handing and processing ( Amadi etc al 2010).

The objective of the workshop, Prof Sodangi said, was to among others,raise awareness and highlight the social and economic implications of ginger loss, emphasizing its impact on ginger farmers ‘ income, livelihood and market.

At the workshop, 100 small -holder farmers were supported with various farm inputs.