The Federal Government on Monday inaugurated Nigeria’s Groundnut Value Chain which will produce 120,000 metric tons of groundnut grains valued at N24 billion ($155m). It said the inauguration
was to revive the already abandoned groundnut production in the country as well as restore the groundnut pyramids of northern Nigeria.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, said the groundnut value chain was new and received budgetary provision for the first time in 2013.
He said, “The main objective of the value chain is to drive the development of groundnut sub-sector in conjunction with stakeholders along the value chain to improve production, processing, marketing and export of the produce.
“The groundnut value chain will produce an additional 120,000 metric tons of groundnut grains valued at N24bn ($155m) and supplied to small, medium and large scale processors.”
Adesina said the project would be implemented directly in 15 states which include Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Bauchi, Benue, Borno and Gombe.
Others are Kebbi, Kwara, Nasarawa, Niger, Taraba Yobe and Zamfara.
He said the government’s goal was to reach 1.8 million farmers, adding that the objectives of the value chain would be achieved by improving the profitability of groundnut production.
This, he said, would be through broadening the genetic base of groundnut and promoting improved cultivars and agronomic practices that meet farmers’ needs and market requirements.
The minister explained that a significant part of Nigeria’s economy in the 1960s revolved around groundnut pyramids in northern Nigeria.
According to him, Nigeria at the time was the largest producer of groundnuts, with a market share of over 40 per cent of shelled groundnuts globally.
Adesina said, “Between 1956 and 1967, groundnut was one of the country’s most valuable export crops, exemplified by the famous groundnut pyramids in Kano, Zaria and other major towns in Northern Nigeria. Groundnut products including groundnut oil and cakes accounted for 70 per cent of total Nigerian export earnings before the oil boom.
“When Nigeria found oil, it abandoned agriculture in general, and groundnut production suffered. Nigeria’s exports of shelled groundnuts plummeted from 502,000 MT in 1961 to 291,000 MT in 1970 and to zero by 1980. The groundnut pyramids disappeared.”
He noted that the Federal Government would be supported by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics in revitalising the country’s groundnut value chain.
“ICRISAT is the world’s leading centre for research on groundnuts and sorghum and they are here in Nigeria to support our efforts on sorghum and groundnuts transformation,” he added.
In her address, the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mrs. Ibukun Odusote, expressed the belief that the groundnut value chain would increase production, processing and marketing of groundnut in the country.