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Research institute, firms partner on ginger value chain, exports

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[FILE PHOTO] Ginger . Credit: Jam Beverage Company

To promote value chain development of ginger as a produce capable of boosting wealth creation, employment opportunities and improved gross domestic product (GDP), the Raw Material research and Development Council (RMRDC) has partnered with two private sector operators to maximize the benefits.

The Director-General of the council, Prof. H.D Ibrahim, disclosed, in a statement, that ginger oleoresin is an important secondary raw material in the pharmaceutical, food and beverage industries.

“Consequently, the council has collaborated with two companies to promote ginger exportable products,” he said.

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According to him, the council identified Belphins Nigeria Ltd, Kafanchan, in Kaduna State, as the only company with the capacity to produce ginger oleoresin in the country as of now, while Tiger Foods Ltd, Onitsha, Anambra State, is identified as a major player in the processing of other ginger value-added products for now.

Laboratory analyses were carried out on samples of oleoresin produced by Belphins Nigeria at the Institute of Public Analysts of Nigeria (IPAN) and the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC). The outcome of the analyses formed the basis for the advocacy with the organised private sector.

It, hence, organised a roundtable/advocacy meeting on the utilization of locally produced ginger oleoresin by Nigeria’s industries at Manufacturers’ Association of Nigeria (MAN) House, Ikeja, Lagos in 2019 and was attended by industrialists in the food and beverage, pharmaceutical sectors and other user industries.

One of the key recommendations of the advocacy meeting was for the council to liaise with SON to develop Nigerian Industrial Standards (NIS) on oleoresin.

“Consequently, the liaison with SON has been initiated.  Further to this initiative, the Council, in collaboration with a private engineering firm, is about completing the design and fabrication of oleoresin extractors,” the director-general said.

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The council boss identified main limitations of the Nigerian ginger subsector as lack of development of production, markets and processing facilities, as well as disparity between the amount of profit between farmers and traders, irregular weather conditions and the limited number of ginger varieties.

“One of the biggest challenges Nigeria faces is low value addition and how to maintain the quality of ginger, which has to be enhanced to meet export market standards.

“To obviate some of these challenges, the Raw Materials Research and Development Council initiated, maintained and sustained a ginger development strategy that has been yielding results. The strategy has direct impact on production, processing and marketing of ginger in Nigeria,” he said.

Under its ‘Boosting of Agricultural Raw Materials for Industrial Use’ programme, the council, in the early 1990s, collaborated with National Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI), Umudike, to produce and distribute high quality ginger planting materials to ginger farmers’ associations in the country. Since then, RMRDC has been boosting ginger production by distributing improved varieties to associations in selected states of the federation.

Recently, the council provided two tonnes of organic ginger rhizomes to Southwest ginger producers, processors and marketers to boost the production and yield of organic ginger in Nigeria. It also trained more than 500 ginger farmers across the country on global agronomic best practices.

A major component of the capacity building initiatives was the training of farmers on methods of producing, harvesting and packaging of ginger in ways that will ensure that the commodity is not affected by aflatoxin. They were also trained on the application of AflaSafe.

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It has collaborated with LAUTECH, Ogbomosho, to promote the propagation and utilisation of organic ginger in line with best international standards. In collaboration with NRCRI, Umudike and Farm Industries, Owerri, respectively, the council has promoted the design and fabrication of ginger splitting machine and ginger drying equipment for commercial processing of ginger.

Each complete set of the plant comprises a splitting machine, dryer, washing machine and digital moisture meter.

The business plan/feasibility report for the project has been prepared. Likewise, RMRDC’s collaboration with Tiger Foods Ltd, Onitsha, has led to the local sourcing of ginger for processing into value added ginger products by the company.

The bulk of ginger produced in Nigeria is exported in the split-dried form. The importing countries usually process this into industrial products, mainly ginger powder, essential oils, oleoresin, etc. The products are imported into the country at higher cost, underscoring the need for value addition to the commodity within the country, the council said.

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