In a renewed drive for agricultural commodity beneficiation and value addition, agro dealers in the Nigeria’s Shea industry have made an estimated $30million financial commitment into building a number of Shea processing factories.
The Director, Nigeria Agribusiness Register, Roland Oroh, who disclosed this in Abuja, during his organisation’s monthly Agribusiness Networking (AgNet) conference, hinted that investors have committed to setting up about five to eight local modern Shea processing plants estimated to cost between $20million and $30million.
In his presentation titled, “A Snap Shot of the Nigeria Shea Industry,” Oroh assured that “in the next 12 months, you will be seeing a revived local Shea association providing support to members and the industry because donors are responding.”
He pointed out that the USAID West Africa Trade Hub project will be resident in Abuja very soon, and Shea is one of the key export products to be supported, saying the project would have a large grant component to support innovative ideas.
He said for Nigeria to benefit maximally from the industry, government and other stakeholders must devise creative ways to fund startup businesses.
“There is no bank that would give out loan without collateral. That is a global practice. How then do we fund startups? There have to be creative ways. What we need is risk capital for start-ups,” he said.
According to him, there is also a need for advocacy campaign in the grassroots to stop the illegal felling of trees, especially in the rural areas.
The Director-General, Niger State Commodity and Export Promotion Agency (NCEPA), Mrs. Zainab Halilu, regretted that even though Nigeria has the largest Shea trees in the world, but yet is the lowest exporter of Shea butter in West Africa.
She said the Niger State Government has achieved much in the industry by purchasing a robust technology for processing and planting about 100,000 seedlings in the three senatorial districts, adding that: “the state will establish Shea refinery to boost production.”
Wife of the Niger State Governor, Amina Bello, stressed the need to have an alliance between the government and the private sector, and tasked states to leverage the industry as a way to improve their Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).