Farmers in the country earned a total of N201. 66bn from export of agricultural products between January and September this year.

The figure was arrived at from foreign trade in goods data, which was obtained from the National Bureau of Statistics.

An analysis of the figures showed that N86.09bn was earned in the first quarter of the year.

The N86.09bn which represents 42.69 per cent of agric exports is the highest export revenue earned by farmers during the first three months of this year.

The NBS put the export earnings from agricultural produce in the second quarter at N74.47bn.

In the third quarter, the export revenue dropped by N31.37bn to N42.1bn.

Some of the exported products in the third quarter were sesame seed with a value of N14.83bn; cocoa beans N13.31bn, cashew nuts N2.91bn, frozen shrimps N2.25bn and cocoa butter N2.04bn.

Others were coconut N801m, flowers N473m, cotton N398.7m, flour N369.7m, plants for perfumery N274.6m, and ginger N197.8m.

The rest were sesame oil N185m, gum Arabic N159.1m, vegetable fats N109.4m and broad beans N106.4m.

The Managing Director, Tak Integrated Agricultural Solutions Limited, Kabir Usman, said Nigeria could earn huge revenue from agriculture if the potential of the sector was effectively harnessed.

He recalled that before the discovery of crude oil, most of the nation’s revenue came from agric exports.

He said,  “This country was built on the foundation of agriculture export and not on crude oil.

“Fifty years ago, Nigeria was known as  nation of agricultural exports. We were known for production of organic farming.

“Agriculture is the only sector that can create 100 millions of the jobs we are looking for.”

The Executive Director/Chief Executive of NEPC, Mr Olusegun Awolowo, said the council was targeting to generate about $200m in the next 10 years from the development of organic farming in seven priority commodities.

Awolowo who put the global organic food and drinks export at $97bn said that the Federal Government was targeting to benefit from the huge market.

He gave the seven products as ginger, tumeric, sesame seed, hibiscus flower, tiger nut, moringa oleifera and cashew.

Awolowo said the potential of the seven products would be harnessed from states that had comparative advantage in them.

Some of the states are  Kaduna, Nassarawa, Cross River and Oyo, Cross River Benue Kogi, Niger, Jigawa, Katsina, Bauchi, Kano and Gombe.

Others are Abia, Ogun, Enugu, the Federal Capital Territory, and Kwara.

The NEPC boss said, “The Organic Farming Development Programme for export is a critical market intervention and value chain linkage programme under the Zero Oil Plan.

He said, “The ultimate objective of the project is to contribute to the Federal Government’s policy of developing the potential of the non-oil sector of the economy.

“This will be achieved through improving production and post-harvest handling of the seven priority organic products for export, with a view to expanding and increasing Nigeria’s share in the global market.”

PUNCH

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