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~ P.ERSPECTIVE __..... ,...."",.,

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Juiced Up: Creating Markets to Drive Agriculture

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Friday \larch 9. 2011, President Goodluck Jonathan commissioned the Teragro Fruit Concentrate Plant in Makurdi, 8enue State.

Althoug}:l this co'1lmissioning gal less than \VOl thy mention in

the press. it was J. major milestone for Nigeria's agncultural developmenl It Nas a major attempt to provide a market for orange, p"ango a.,d pineapple farmers in Benu( Slate. TIte existenCE or this plant should significantly reduce the postharvest losses of these fiuits bul more importantl/, lead to the much needed and critical increase in loca1 ·mit juice production. Finally, we are beginning to aPfly the right solutions to the right prob ems.

Every ~I su.:cess starts

with an audacious dream. In

this case, Dc. Jid( Adedeji (CEO, Teragro Limited) and I believed

that The solution to Nigeria's agricultural dl!Vt lopmen! wouJd start with the creation of markets for agri' ultural produce. Our strategy was to focus on the acquisItion and transformation or monbnnd agricultur. al pJ"0Ct5Sing plants in various parts of Nigena. Through a careful amf exhalolstive nationwide searm. 8enfruits Plant in Malcumi was idl ntified as our

n.""hip proJOd-

• Btllut Srou gO'·tntor, Gabritl Sru,."11"; C/udrman TfTUUCOrp '"corpora/rd, To", Elumdu: p,.,side"t Goodlud Jonathan and Stmllt PfTsidtnl, Dalid Mart, at the commissioning ol tht plant fTC,,,tI, of base raw materials. All the N50 even when in sea· fanners we engaged during the _---.:B::;y!-P~"::/ri::::: 'c::k.::O:.:•.::O:.:k:cig.:b::o:.:m=__ son. Worse still. Nigeria spends numerous farm inspections about US$l billion to import weeks in the orange groves of indicated a ~illingn~ to . concentrates. increase thel! productton If Senue State collecting primary During the numerous field there was certainty of data and extrapolating the visits 10 Benue State, the learn demand. This is the bane of quantities of orang'7i prod,!~ led by Or. Jide Adedeji and in the state. Our estimates mdlfood production in Nigeria. Patrick O. Okigbo III found that The solution to Nigeria's agricated that over 1 million MT of the structure of the market dis. cultural development challenge oranges are produced in the proportionately empowered is in the development of marSl'ate every year. The team also midd.lemen (Iog!stics providers, kets to utilise tJle excess prohad to map the di£ferent poten: a~regators, arid cooperative duce. Despite the lack. of vision The soluSU"""",, tial risks and develop appropn- SOCIeties) because they are the that has plagued development According to the United ate miti~tion strategies.. ones with the financial tion to in the sector, Nigerian farmers Slates Oepartmel>t of 8enue State is indeed the food re50Utcei to provide the I~is. rontinue to produce large quanAgriculture, frui1 juice conbasket of the nation.. 17 out of Nigeria's tics used in transpC)rting the tities that contribute over 40 per sumption in Nigeria has 2J local government areas in the produce from the farm to variagricultural cent to GOP. Amongst the many increased by approximately 10 state produce oranges in romous ~ts of the country. V~it activities of the ~vemment to meroal quantities. Six orange developpercent year-<)~ear from 2{XJ2 any of the orange markets m to 2010. Nige · consumption varieties are ~wn in the state; sup~rt the sector. emphasis Benue at the ena of a typical mentchaJmust be placed on creating marof fruit juice ha ~ 15 however.. only three of the varimarket day - for instance, kets for the produce. The Tony million consumers (200 million eties (lbadan Sweet. Valencia lenge Is In !hugh market or Hausa Elume1u-Ied board of Transcorp lil::re9) in 2002 to 55 million c0nand Washin~) are of comQuarters· and you would find the develhas done the nation a great sumers (320 millIon litres) in mercial value for juice extraca heap of abandoned oranges. 200'7_ 1be market for fruit juice service by this investment. lion. Each of these varieties has Why18ecause it would be opmentof concentTaresj p~mix and syrup a peak season and a second sea- uneconomic for the farmer to ~ company is still very markets to (concentratef) increased from son of harvest. This dual-harbullish about the agricultund transport the oranges back to sector as it i5 an untapped, yet 15 million kUograms in 2002 to vest season implies that oranges their origin. 'The nuddlemen utilise the 30 million kilograms in 2.fXTl are available in the stlte every viable finandal story. make ill the profit on the fruits excess Hopefully, the success of the valued at over $8S million. month of the year except for while the fanner who enS'lge5 Altho~ the. dati was romTeragro 8enfruits plant will March and parts of April. in year·round back breaking produce pelting. selling the business encourage oth~ investors to.. lhese oranges are in labour barely makes enough to seriously consIder opporturuties proposition to th~ management smallholder £ann uruts with Sustain his f.tmily. Without and board of the company was many of the farms on less than access to ' guaranteed' markets- in !:he ag!icu1hlri1l sector. From there, the possibilities no easy feat .nd was met with 10 hectares.. However, our esti· processing plants - the fanners scepticism and Significant oppo- mates indicated that over 10 per will be diSsuaded. from any fur- are endless. We see a vision of a sition. The lack of compelling. cent of the oranges were lost ther investments in the produce. Ni~eria that will transition £rom being a fruit concentrate verifiable data on agriCultunil every year on tile farms. In fact.. Benue State, like many other importer to supplying the enbre investments made it more diffimost of the oranges are not food producing states in w..t African ' (and alit to convince !:he decisioneven harvested at aU. In peak Nigena. needs more food promakers. Many issues were beyond) with in demand harvest season. an ~ stand cesoing plants. The existing _ wbid:t can yield Glut five (5) orange ~ in Benue can feed fniit produce.. raised about the .vaUability of enough &uils, the _ S<I<g bag> of""ns<" oould..u at ~ ~ Bve plants of £or as klW u Nt,ooo. Yet an ~ situation.. su pport infraIim.ilar ca.padty witOOut any ~ could sen for.., mud\..u structure,. etc WithOUt reliable queotion of ~ "'pply dato, the ""'" ..,.... many

The plant. with a capacity of 26,500MT, was illstalled by the government of Benuc State in 2005 but had ne\'er been rommissioned. The plant has hour processing caead:r 0 6MT of oranges, 5MT 0 mangoes. and 4MT of pineapples. With Nigeria s?t:-nding aOOuI US$t billion in the importation of fruit concentrnles for the burgeoning fruit juke industry, it was a no-bminer that a plant like this one would be a great

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THISDAY, 29 APRIL, 2012  

Juiced Up: Creating Markets to Drive Agriculture

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