Utomi floats $135m commodities exchange
Integrated Produce City Limited is developing a new agricultural commodities exchange to take advantage of the government’s efforts to boost farming output to reduce reliance on oil.
The Exchange will be located near the southern city of Benin, about 300 kilometers (186 miles) east of Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial hub, a site accessible to nearby growers of cocoa, palm oil, rubber and cassava, its Chief Executive Officer, Pat Utomi, said in an interview.
“The concept of a wholesale-produce market is to enable the farmer to fully dispose of his produce, instead of today where he loses 80 per cent of his output” that rots before it can reach the market, Utomi said in Abuja, according to Bloomberg.
Nigeria is boosting investment in agriculture to increase exports and cut food imports that cost it $3.2bn in 2015, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. The country has been hit hard by lower output and prices of crude, which accounts for more than 90 per cent of foreign income and two thirds of government revenue.
Integrated Produce City will have storage facilities, including refrigerated warehouses, and host processing plants on its 100-hectare (247-acre) site in Edo State’s Ugbokun village when it starts operating by the end of 2018, Utomi said.