The Federal Government has harped the need to continually develop and promote ginger production to achieve its potentials as a crop that generates foreign exchange earnings for the country.
In a keynote address delivered at the capacity building workshop on Good Agricultural Practices, GAP for Ginger farmers drawn from the Southeast/South-south zone at National Root Crop Research Institute, Umudike, Abia state on Monday, the Director of Agriculture, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, FMARD Mrs Karima Babangida said the importance of ginger as both food and source of foreign exchange earnings is unprecedented.
According to her, the overall policy objectives of the ginger production programme is to increase the productivity and to promote small, medium and large scale commercial production of the crop, using improved high yielding varieties and to promote value addition of ginger raw material for the Industrial food markets, pharmaceutical, confectionery, well processed and packaged spice are used as a commodity of choice in disaster relief in International markets.
The FMARD Director of Agriculture represented by the desk officer, ginger value chain, Mrs Victoria Agama said the Federal Government is committed to the promotion of the agricultural sector by unleashing its potentials to drive food and nutrition security, economic growth and job creation.
She revealed that Nigeria gingers entered the International market in its three primary products which include: fresh ginger, preserved ginger and dried ginger, as well as confectionery ginger products such as oils and oleoresin oils.
Her words, “The market for ginger is massive. Ginger is one of the important crop for export, food and nutrition security in Nigeria. Nigeria ginger is one of the best in the world and highly valued in the pharmaceutical and confectionery Industry. Nigeria is among the world largest producers of ginger, produces almost 523 metric ton annually, which accounts for 14 percent share of the total global production. About 90 percent of our production is exported and over a million dollar is generated as foreign exchange earnings annually. This is projected to keep growing at 6percent annually”.
She revealed further that the FMARD is ensuring accelerated ginger production and value addition towards self-sufficiency, to meet Industrial requirements, as well as boost farmers’ income and generate employment in the country.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Abia State FMARD Director, Engr. Victor Ihediwa pointed out that the ministry is persistently working towards achieving food and nutrition security through its various activities by using a combination of policies and appropriate agricultural technologies that will lead to job and wealth creation as well as improved living standards.
According to him, one of the ways in which the ministry is working to achieve this objective is through the promotion of various crops such as ginger in which Nigeria has comparative advantage in production.
Ihediwa said, “The purpose of this workshop is to train farmers to use their resources efficiently, improve their production and processing skills towards improving food security”.
Some of the ginger farmers who spoke with Federal Information shortly after the workshop, who include: Mr. Orji Nnabuihe Emeka; Mary Chika and Ndubuisi Onyekwere lauded the federal government for the workshop but passionately appealed that funds and other incentives be made available to encourage them, as the cost of farming in the Southeast is higher than that of North.