By Shuaib Sadiq
Kaduna – An NGO, Synergos Nigeria, says it is collaborating with farmers to establish a Ginger Clinic in Kaduna State to improve the quality of the product to meet global standard.
An Agribusiness Innovation Specialist and Synergos Consultant, Kenneth Okonkwo, disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Kaduna on Wednesday.
He said that Synergos, funded by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, was facilitating the ginger clinic under the State Partnership in Agriculture (SPA) currently working in Kaduna, Benue and Kogi States.
Okonkwo said the clinic would address challenges of poor quality and low price at the global market.
He said the clinic would be established in Kachia Local Government Area, because it was closer to major markets and cluster farmers.
The Synergos consultant said that the cluster farmers would use the facility to process the commodity at first level before it would be sold directly to exporters at global market price.
NAN reports that Kachia is central in accessing major ginger markets in Kubacha, Walijo, Kenyi and Kwoi among others, where over 50 trucks of ginger are sold out to middlemen weekly.
The clinic, Okonkwo said, would also address challenges faced by the ginger farmers in the value chain and improve access to market as well as check glut and scarcity.
“The facility will first of all help in cleaning the ginger after harvest, slicing and drying, as well as proper storage.
“Thereafter, it will be sold directly to exporters, thereby eliminating the role of middlemen,’’ the agribusiness expert said.
According to him, the clinic will check the under-pricing of the product by middlemen while the global price remains the same.
“Nigeria is the world’s third largest producer of ginger, but farmers suffer losses at the global market due to poor quality of the product.
“The ginger value-chain faces challenges ranging from poor cleaning, slicing, drying and storage, thereby leading to poor pricing both at local and the international markets.
“Although, Nigeria is the third world producer of the commodity after China and India, the revenue generated from the commodity is low.
“Farmers are being exploited by middlemen due to lack of awareness and poor processing facilities.’’
Kaduna State is the major producer of ginger in the country, followed by Nasarawa, Plateau, Benue, Niger and Gombe States.
Nigeria’s production is estimated at 110,000 metric tonnes, according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), out of which 10 per cent is locally consumed while 90 per cent is dried primarily for export. (NAN)