Poor access to land has prevented the country from unlocking the unquantifiable potential of agriculture, and access to finance continues to be a major challenge, an agriculturist has said.
Founder of Truvis Agro Services Limited, Debo Abodunrin, has called on the government to make land easily accessible to farmers and provide top-quality inputs with standardisation bodies for agricultural produce.
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Abodunrin said: “The first critical step in value addition is investing in the food safety and quality of your product end to end. Product contamination with aflatoxins and other micro toxins are among the main reasons spices and herbs are rejected at European borders and this is another area that could do with government participation.
He lamented the lack of investments in processing plants that could reduce the massive post-harvest losses the country suffers yearly, saying, “The scenario right now is that goods are exported at ridiculous prices to re-exporting countries such as Turkey, Holland, Singapore and even China.”
Speaking on herbs and spices farms in Epe and Ayetoro, he said: “When we ventured, we identified three points that would be critical to our success, namely low hanging fruits, that is, quick gestation crops; high demand crops with low enterprise participation and high returns with quick turnover crop.”
Research showed that the herbs and spices industry is a $32 billion industry with the projections to grow at six per cent for the next seven years.
“We discovered that the majority of herbs and spices are between 90 and 120-day gestation. Next, we found out that the majority of industrial users import almost all their inputs. And finally, we found a company that was prepared to take our products if we could grow to their specifications and signed an off-take agreement with us.”