NIGERIA – Nigeria’s agricultural goods exports in the first quarter of 2019 dropped by 11.5% from US$270.45 million (N97.3bn) recorded in the fourth quarter of 2018 to 239.32 million (N86.1bn).

According to data from the National Bureau of Statistics, the revenue included US$109.46 million (N39.6bn) worth of broken and unbroken sesame seed, US$55.56 million (N20.1bn) good fermented cocoa beans, US$27.09m superior quality raw cocoa beans.

During the quarter under review the country also exported US$11.89m worth cashew nuts in shell, US$6.63m frozen shrimps and prawns, US$7.74m other raw cocoa beans and ginger, US$3.32m natural cocoa butter and shelled cashew nuts worth US$3.04m.

Others items exported included agro food items worth US$2.55m, ginger worth US$1.52m, sesame seed and its fractions, US$1.12m while other butter of cocoa and deodorised cocoa products exports generated US$0.77m.

Comparative analysis of the data showed that Nigeria exported US$93.71m worth of broken and unbroken sesame seed in Q4 2018, which was US$15.76m less than the volume exported in Q1 2019.

Fermented cocoa beans, which also make up a significant proportion of the exports amounted to US$67.72m representing an increase of US$12.16m over the volume exported in the period.

The country also exported US$16.03m cashew nuts in shell, which was US$4.15m more than the value exported in Q1 2019, US$11.06m sesame oil and its fractions, indicating US$9.95m more than the value exported in Q1 2019.

Conversely, imported agricultural products were 7.98 per cent higher in value in Q1 than Q4 2018, and 28.1 per cent higher than in Q1, 2018 reports The Punch.

In the past few years, the agricultural sector has progressively taken a hit from the difficulty in getting goods to the ports on time.

The Chartered Institute of Export and Commodity Brokers of Nigeria, has  advocated the establishment of a commodities interchange centre to bring farmers, export merchants , off takers and brokers together.

The institute said this would be likened to the Baltic Exchange of the United Kingdom that exists in every state of the federation which allows for ease of price and quality monitoring.

The Registrar of the institute, MrAdeshina Adenuga, adds that there is a need to have a professional body to regulate shipping and export in the country “that would look into the Nigerian maritime background, trade relations and availability of most of the commodities in the international market.”

1US$ = Naira (N) 361