Picture showing avocado fruit

The Need for Nigeria to Access Avocado Global Wealth : By Peter Owinje

 

Nigeria is blessed with good arable land which is a notable potential among others to make wealth in the agricultural sector. A source from the World Bank revealed that as at 2016, the nation’s arable land was 34 million hectares. The nation has abundant opportunities to make wealth and to build the economy through this sector but it’s worthy of note that Nigeria is yet to fully harness this epic potential in the agricultural sector for our economic prosperity.

Many individual Nigerians focus on different jobs to make ends meet, at the expense of farming activities. Many of the youths in the rural area move into the city looking for jobs without success. This may explain why we see many youths becoming commercial motorcycle operators popularly known as “Okada men”. This is a major concern for Agric. Unit of Sunlight City Foundation. Why? It’s because we know that the agricultural sector, if properly harnessed, can create a lot of jobs to accommodate the teeming youths. For example, in Mexico avocado production alone provides close to 500,000 jobs.

Despite the huge arable land and the huge population of jobless youths in the country, Nigeria is yet to see the potential in avocado production. Little do they know that the demand for avocado (pear) in international trade is high and the supply is low; worse still, Nigerians are not investing heavily in avocado production, hence, we have little or nothing to supply in avocado global trade that will enable us to tap into the 13.64 billion USD global wealth in avocado trade.

Avocados are used in the food, the cosmetics and the pharmaceutical industries. In fact, it was reported that Americans consume an estimated 4.25 billion avocados each year. All of these explain why the demand for the fruit is high.  The major buyers of this notable fruit are United States of America, Netherlands, France, United Kingdom, Asia and Germany. All these countries are industrialized nations. However, the major exporters of avocado in the world are: Mexico, Peru, Brazil, Dominican Republic, USA, Indonesia, Venezuela, Colombia, Israel, Kenya, South Africa, Belgium, Colombia, Morocco, New Zealand and China.  

Mexico’s avocado production is also noteworthy; the country is said to expand its avocado plantation by 690 hectares every year to increase their production. The country produces close to 1.8 million metric tons of the fruits and 78% of her production i.e. 900,000 metric tons are exported to US.  

Peru also in 2017, exported 247,000 tons of avocados and realized 580 million US. Dollars.

Kenya makes huge money in avocado exportation by exporting 70% of her production every year. For instance, in 2018, the country exported not less than 72,000 metric tons and realized close to 118 million USD. The country produces 3 varieties which are the Hass variety, Fuerte variety and green-skin variety which is the local Kenya Jumbo. However, Hass variety is the most popular demand in the global trade.

The highest “kilichi” (beef sauce) producer nation recently celebrated cannot take us far after several years of funding research. The question one may be tempted to ask is: Is Nigeria putting money in the appropriate sector?

Misplacement of priority is our greatest mistake over the years, and we are paying heavily for it.  Many of our politicians prefer to empower our youths with “okada” (motorbike), for commercial purpose instead, which the Entrepreneurship Development Training arm of SUNLIGHT CITY FOUNDATION frowns at.

Nevertheless, avocado is becoming more popular due to its numerous usage in industries, and the demand for it internationally is high. Some countries are already investing heavily in the avocado industry, for instance, Peru expands its avocado plantation with 1,500 hectares every year. However, Ambassador Adeniji Bunmi, the Chief Executive Officer, Avocado Society of Nigeria, made it known that the avocado industry has export potential to generate 12 billion naira annually for the country, if we invest heavily in the industry. Avocado market is robust, hence, Nigeria can also tap into this global wealth.

Image credited to: Horti News


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