NIGERIA – Nigeria has emerged as the global leading producer of Kola nuts accounting for 52% of the total worlds production, data from the Food and Agriculture Organisation, (FAO) reveals.

Production of the high caffeine rich seeds in Nigeria is estimated to stand at 140,842 tonnes annually against the 272,000 tonnes of kola nuts produced globally on an annual basis.

As a top producer, Nigeria is estimated to generate US$141million annually from the sale of the commodity at the international market which is currently estimated at about US$272million.

The country is also a major consumer of the commodity with its consumption majorly concentrated in the Northern part of the country including Kano, Kaduna, Sokoto and Katsina states, reports Independent.

In Africa, Kola nuts production is mostly recorded in West African countries Including Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Ghana and Sierra Leone with a production capacity of; 140.84, 54.83, 43.64, 23.88 and 8.26 metric tonnes respectively.

Kola nuts are edible seeds rich in caffeine and whose extracts are widely used for industrial purposes in the beverage sector as well as in pharmaceutical industry for medicinal applications.

Research done on Kola nuts reveal that it contains between 2 to 3 percent caffeine and 1 to 2 percent theobromine, both of which act as stimulants when consumed.

Kola nut increased utilisation in the beverage (as well as pharmaceutical) industry, has been viewed to potentially contribute significantly to the caffeine industry.

According to a recent study by the Global Info Research, the global caffeine is expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of about 7.6% to  US$520 million over the next five years up from US$340 million US$ in 2017.

Among some of the major beverage segments that have successfully incorporated kola nut extracts include; wine, chocolate and soft drinks, while the kola pod husk has been used in the manufacture of poultry feeds.

However, kola nuts are utilised at an industrial level mainly in Europe and America in the production of beverages with the United States being the leading importer.

Increasing demand of the commodity has attracted major research institution including the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN) in a bid to ensure adequate supply at the international market.