By Cecilia Ijuo
Abuja – The National Groundnut Producers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria (NGROPPMAN) has called for Federal Government’s intervention to restore the days of groundnut pyramid in Nigeria.
The President of the association, Mr Aimu Foni, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Sunday.
He said it was disheartening to note that groundnut, a one time major contributor to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), was almost no where in terms of export.
Foni said several challenges including the unavailability of improved and quality seeds as well as lack of mechanisation were responsible for the state of groundnut in Nigeria.
“It is worrisome that groundnut which used to bring revenue to the country is struggling to remain relevant and this was one of the cash crops that contributed so much to the country’s GDP.
“Today, we are lost in the international market when it comes to groundnut.
“One of the major challenges is that groundnut is still being mainly cultivated using local tools. So, there is a need for mechanisation.
“Another challenge is lack of access to quality and improved seeds.
“Even when these seeds are released by government, they are hijacked by portfolio farmers and they never get to the real farmers.”
Foni, who is also the member representing Chibok Constituency in the Borno State House of Assembly, said that wrong application of fertilisers and pesticides by farmers had compounded the problem.
He added that other countries, most times do not patronise Nigeria’s groundnut over health concerns.
“Other countries reject our groundnut over claims that they do not meet international standards.
“So, continuous sensitisation of farmers by extension workers is required,” he said.
He said that groundnut could still contribute to the country’s GDP if the potentials were unlocked, stressing that the current production capacity of about 1.8 million metric tonnes could be tripled with the right intervention.
“It is a complete value chain. We produce, process and market. So, with this, we do not have business with poverty, unemployment or any form of economic challenge.
“I have been to the Netherlands, China, South Africa and some other countries and I saw how they are making a fortune from agriculture; meanwhile they are not better than us in terms of natural resources.
“So, the potential in groundnut, if unlocked, can fetch Nigeria billions of naira from export alone. Nothing in groundnut is a waste.
“The leaves can be used to feed animals, oil can be gotten from the seed and all that.
“We tried in the past to get government’s intervention, especially through the Anchor Borrowers Programme, but to no avail.
“I hope they heed our cry this time, so that groundnut can take its pride of place,” Foni said.