By G9ija

Worried by the low level patronage of locally available raw materials and government’s poor support for producers of ginger, moringa and other products, the Raw Materials Research & Development Council (RMRDC) has advocated the full utilisation of locally produced ginger (oleoresin) used as a base product in the pharmaceutical and cosmetics sector.

At a workshop held in Lagos, with the topic: “The utilisation of locally produced Ginger Oleoresin by Nigerian Industries,” the RMRDC Director General, Prof. Hussaini Dikko, unveiled a national strategy for Nigeria’s competitiveness in raw materials especially ginger.

According to him, Nigeria has the largest area in the world under ginger cultivation and ranks third in production after India and China. This, he further explained, buttresses the need for a strategic plan by government to support producers of raw materials in terms of exploitation and development.

He said: “Nigeria’s ginger is highly valued on the International market for its high oil and oleoresin content. Although ginger is mostly grown in Kaduna, Nasarawa, Benue, Niger, Gombe, Bauchi, kano, Oyo, Imo, Abia, and Lagos state; southern Kaduna is the main producing area, with over 95 per cent of the country’s total production.  This position is supported by the Food & Agriculture Organisation Corporate Statistical Database (FAOSTAT), which stated that Nigeria produced 349,895 tons of ginger in 2017 with a world share of 11.5 per cent”.

Dikko, who was represented by the Director, Technology Development Department, Dr. Abimbola Ogunwusi revealed that  sadly the bulk of ginger produced in Nigeria is exported in slit-dried form, where the importing countries further process it into industrial products mainly ginger powder, essential oils, oleoresin and re imported by manufacturers at higher cost.

While underscoring the need for value addition to commodities within the country, he said statistics from Nigeria Customs Service Database in 2017 suggested that Nigeria spent over N182 million to import 524,991 kilogramme of ginger resinoids from January, 2016- February, 2017.

He pledged the preparedness of the agency to promote, support and expedite industrial development and self-reliance through optimal utilisation of local raw materials as input to the nation’s industries especially ginger, who’s sector as a high employment opportunity.

“RMRDC is seeking indigenous manufacturer’s buy-in as it promotes the utilisation of locally produced ginger oleoresin by user industries. Your buy-in will go a long way in developing the ginger value chain, reduce the importation of oleoresin into the country, save foreign exchange, and create job, wealth and diversify the economy,” Dikko said