Apparently gingered by the impressive N817.35billion recorded In agric trade in the second quarter of this year, the Edo State wing of Federation of Agricultural Commodity Associations of Nigeria (FACAN), has distributed 150,000 free cashew seedlings to farmers in the state.
Over 3000 hectares worth of sesame seeds were also distributed to farmers across the three Senatorial District of the State.
National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in its Foreign Trade Statistics – Q2 2021 says the Buhari administration recorded a total of N817.35 billion worth of trade in agricultural goods in the second quarter of this year.
According to the report, N165.27 billion was realised from the export of agricultural goods while imports stood at N652.08 billion.
The NBS data indicate that the most exported agricultural product was fermented Nigerian Cocoa beans which was mainly exported to the Netherlands valued at N16.48 billion, Malaysia (N9.32 billion) and the United States (N8.41 billion).
Cashew nuts were the second leading agricultural export to countries like Vietnam (N33.54 billion) and India (N3.24 billion). Other major exports include sesame seeds supplied to Japan with a value of N7.28 billion and China at N7.14 billion while coconuts stood at N9.94 billion.
The data agency noted the importation of Durum wheat (not in seed) from countries which include the United States valued at N70.37 billion, Canada (N54.48 billion), Argentina (N35.04 billion), Lithuania (N32.24 billion) and Latvia (N25.91 billion).
“The next product imported under this category was the Blue whiting from Russia (N27.23 billion) and the Netherlands (N13.41 billion). During the quarter, mackerel worth N9.61billion was imported from Netherlands and N4.91billion from Japan. There was also the importation of malt, not roasted from Belgium (N21.42 billion) and France (N4.48 billion)”, NBS said.
While it added that other major importation was Crude palm oil from Singapore valued at N15.09 billion and India at N11.68 billion, FACAN in partnership with Peniel Gerar Intl. Ltd trained 3000 farmers on sesame seeds, soybeans and groundnut commercial farming.
The initiative, according to FACAN, is aimed at bringing farmers up to speed with modern agricultural practices to boost their productivity and also provide a platform for them to take their place in the Agro Commodity Export business in Nigeria and West Africa sub-region.
Its Edo State Chairman, Prince Enahoro Ojiefoh, made it known during the Edo Agro Commodity Conference organised by the association, which was held across the three Senatorial District of the state.
Ojiefoh who noted that the master plan of the association was to inject one million cashew trees in multiples of hundreds yearly, said “that is, on the first year they invest 100,000 economic seedlings and add another 200,000, the third year, 300,000 so that by the fourth year, the farmers would have planted 1 million cashew trees.
Adding, he said “for the sesame, we are targeting 2000 tons of Sesame seeds yearly into the Edo State economy which will translate to about a minimum of 8 billion naira in value by the fifth year’’, pointing out that they are also working with the Agricultural Development Programme (ADP) and Ambrose Ali University, especially the faculty and students of Agriculture to nurture this vision by gradually exposing students to the realities of their passion and chosen career path.
He further announced that FACAN has signed an agreement with Peniel Gerar Intl. Ltd and 14 other oilseed processors and exporters as 100 percent off-takers for the Edo sesame seeds, soybean and groundnut farmers.
Peniel Gerar is expected to set up four warehouses for sesame seeds, cocoa beans and cashew nut exports in an early state as part of the deal.