By Matthew Denis
Kwara State has been adjudged as the second largest producer of Sheabutter in the country.
The Trade Promotion Adviser of Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Ilorin Smart Office, Mr. Andrew Okuilu stated this at a one- day workshop in Ilorin, Kwara State on Monday.
He said: ” Kwara State is the second highest producer of Sheabutter in Nigeria, but aside that we discovered that the production is not systematic, organised and or target driven.
“So we want to put in place system where people are no longer felling Shea butter trees in the state.
” We need to organise a plantation process to discourage people from trees felling to have ready products for the processors.
In his address, the Director of Chemical and Environmental Technology Department, Federal Institute of Research, Dr. Chima Igwe said that less than 25 percent of Shea products produced in Nigeria is exported.
“Of course, we have been told a couple of times that the production level of Shea products, especially the nuts does not match the export that we get from it.
” So we want to woo the processors to up their games to be able to do more exports. I’ll like to inform us that less than 25 per cent of the total quantity of Shea products produced in Nigeria is exported.
Igwe revealed that Nigeria is the largest producer of Shea nuts in the world with an estimate of 500,000 metric tons annually.
He then urged government to begin to look into catalytic processing factory to address quality issues processing of the products.
On his part, the Assistant Director of NEPC, Mr. Samson Adekunle Idowu said ” We are here to educate the people on the prospects of Sheabutter. It is useful in pharmaceutical ingredients for medicine, food supplement in eateries and cosmetics among others.
Representing the Executive Director, Mr. Olusegun Awolowo, Adekunle added, “These are some of the areas that we want farmers/processors to take advantage of rather than just wasting the products. We want them to take advantage by adding value to make fortunes out of it.
The DG stressed that the international value of Shea products annually is in hundreds of billions of naira, adding that if Nigeria can increase production by even one percent it will have positive impact on the economy.
He said, “If we are able to invest in the Shea products effectively the country will rake in billions of dollars in the products annually. Luckily for us, it has not been domesticated and we are still one of the largest producers in the world.
He called on investors to shift from comtrading to value addition package to reap the ultimate benefit of the Shea products.