‘Nigeria can earn $10bn annually from Shea butter exports’
The Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Export Promotion Council, Mr Olusegun Awolowo, has said Nigeria can earn about $10bn annually from the exportation of shea butter, if the right investments are made to grow, harness and process it to international standard.
He said shea butter exports could surpass oil in foreign exchange earning for Nigeria.
Awolowo, represented by the Assistant Director, NEPC, Mr Samson Idowu, spoke during a workshop on shea butter, and acceptable practices for stakeholders across cashew valued chain, in Ilorin, Kwara State on Thursday.
According to him, Nigeria is among the top producers of shea butter in the world.
The NEPC boss also called for more production of cashew, adding that value addition and compliance with internationally acceptable packaging standard were imperative for more forex earning by operators in the industry.
Awolowo said, “Rather than using it (shea butter) manually, if you add value to it, there are opportunities along the value chain in cosmetic, food industry and pharmaceuticals. Among these key subsectors, there are areas we can add value and make more foreign earning. The international value of shea butter is in billions. We need to close some gaps such as capacity and finance.
“If we do the right investment, Nigeria can earn $10bn annually from shea butter export; If we make the right investments in the areas of processing and value addition to the actual export.”
The Director-General, Federal Institute for Industrial Research, Oshodi, Prof. Gladys Elemo, said the production level of shea products, especially the nuts in Nigeria, did not match the required nation’s export.
Elemo, represented by the Director, Chemical, Fibre and Environmental Technology, FIRRO, Dr Chima Igwe, said the workshop was to ginger shea butter processors to increase their output.
According to her, less than 25 per cent of the total quantity of shear products, especially the nuts produced in Nigeria, are exported.
The FIIRO DG said Nigeria produced an estimated quantity of about 500,000 metric tonnes of shear nuts annually.
She said, “Nigeria can earn $10bn annually from export of shear products, Nigeria is one of the largest producers of shear nuts in the world. We produce an estimated quantity of about 500,000 metric tonnes of shear nuts annually. We export less than 25 per cent of this quantity
The Trade Promotion Advisor, NEPC, Ilorin Smart Office, Mr Andrew Okhiulu, said the production, standardisation, and the value chain addition of shea butter and cashew should be accelerated.