New fresh produce market set to boost Nigerian agri sector

An agricultural commodities market is being set up near Benin City in Nigeria, as part of the Nigerian government’s efforts to resuscitate the farming industry and reduce the country’s reliance on the struggling oil industry.
Tomato crop

In an interview with CNBC Africa, Pat Utomi, CEO of Integrated Produce City, said the US$135 million development will not only allow farmers to sell their produce via market agents, but the centre will also link them to wholesalers, industrial users, and even exporters.

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The latter would help to ensure that products conform to the strict requirements of export markets, and as such prevent the high level of rejection of produce suffered by many aspiring export farmers.

It is also envisaged that wastage would be significantly reduces as producers would have access to cooling and drying facilities. Utomi estimated that this in itself had the potential to boost farmers’ earnings by about 30%.

The market would also offer extension services to farmers and facilitate access to farming inputs.

In addition, it is envisaged that food processing facilities would be located at the facility where value could be added to produce, which would also reduce the cost of logistics.

The Integrated Produce City is funded by investors from South Africa, Italy, China and India, among others, and it is set to open for business in October 2018.

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