FG ignores multibillion naira moringa industry – Farmers

A moringa farm
A moringa farm
  • …to plant 9bn trees in 774 LGAs

The global market for moringa products is expected to hit US$7 billion (about N2.52 trillion) by the end of 2020, up from $4 billion in 2015, according to global market watch.

Indian in 2018 reaped $70 million from moringa export. This is a 10% increase from the 2017 figure which stands at $60 million.

Moringa products – powders, oils, capsules, pills, soaps, and seeds sells – are on the increase lately because of their health benefits.

According to Technavio reports (a global market research firm), the global moringa products market will grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of nearly 10% this year, adding that the major factor driving the market’s growth is due to increasing awareness of the health benefits of moringa products.

Despite the budding market for moringa products, especially in Europe and the Americas, the federal government through the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has failed to set up structures that would allow farmers take advantage of this huge market.

Nigeria has one of the best moringa varieties in the world yet, the farmers face growing frustration due to government neglect and lack of any sustainable policy.

Mr Michael Akoloaga Ashimashiga, the President, Moringa Farmers and Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, on Tuesday, expressed anger over government’s attitude towards moringa production despite different calls by experts to look into the industry, which has potentials for wealth creation.

According to him, despite the different reports, which evaluated the potentials of the crop, he was disappointed “that after knowing all this government has not shown any interest with the reports that they have evaluated and have seen. They have not shown any interest in encouraging its citizens to go into it. I have been just like one voice in the wilderness shouting and crying every day.”

“At the moment, we just have about 5000 members and as we are talking to you, because of the high cost of registering to be a member to cultivate moringa, which is very high, we have brought so many programmes out to see how we can deliberate and support Nigerian youths to come into it,” he said.

The moringa farmers’ leader said that he sat down with so many foreign off takers for years, but at the end they left because the government does not have any policy to support investment in moringa, which has high market value.

He further said that all the relevant government agencies have failed the farmers, adding that “trade and investment are very much aware of what we are doing, go to Raw Materials Research Development Council, go to Nigeria Nutural Medicine Development Council even though is down, go to Veterinary Medical Research Institutes, Vom.”

By his calculation, “If a farmer sets up one plot, at the worst case scenario, we know that one tree of moringa gives you more than a kilogramme of the leafs, but we are telling Nigerians that look at it that 25 trees will give you one kilogramme, then calculate 25 trees will be giving you between N25,000 and N28,000   per 1,100 trees per plot.”

Mr Ashimashiga while responding to Daily Trust on Sunday questions said: “What is the essence of setting up a research institute in any country- is to make sure that after the research and evaluation, you publicise the result to the entire country that this is what we have found out in this research that we have done, then use it to encourage their youths? I told them in the issue of vaccine production and poultry management and the rest, with what I have done with them in 2010 and 2011, all the professors that are going to the national veterinary institute, for research on issues of poultry, cut off mortality in bird production and others, I have done those things in moringa all these many years.

“Sometimes, I pity this country when I hear they fly our youths out to Israel and other countries to go and train them on how to raise poultry meat and the rest of it while we have such kind of agencies on ground. We have many parastatals and agencies that are lying down there. After the research what are you doing with the result? You bring up these youths,  train them…okay if you have added moringa to this and this is the result, why can’t we encourage the youth to cultivate this so that feed production and other things would take off.”

To set up one moringa plant or farm costs more than N300,000, a price considered high for the unemployed youth. However, under the current arrangement, with investors, farmlands have been acquired across the country and intending youth can get free seedlings to begin production.

The association said it would soon flag –off the 9 billion moringa oleifera farming plantation in the 774 Local government areas of the country.

One of the investors and off-takers, Mr Ananah Reddy, explained that he was pleased by the results of the findings done on Nigerian moringa variety which is considered one of the best in the world.

He said plans are under way to establish processing facilities here in Nigeria in order to export Nigeria brands of moringa products to other international markets.

Dr Ignatius O. Onah who has done many works on moringa, told Daily Trust on Sunday that Nigeria is ignoring one of its major money-spinning farm products, which can create not only wealth, but also strengthen the  health of the nation.

Dr Onah who is a pharmacist, nutritionist and naturopathic doctor, called for government policy direction to attract foreign investment into the industry as more pharmaceutical companies hunt for moringa in the production area.

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