Being the third Ginger producing nation and having the spiciest Ginger in the whole world, Nigeria’s ginger is highly sought after globally, says Dr Florence Edwards, President, Ginger Growers Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria.
Organic ginger price has also gone up since the outbreak of the coronavirus outbreak, according to global reports mostly due to its medicinal values, which many believe will build up their immune systems in the wake of taking precautions to stay safe from the virus.
Even in Nigeria, the price of the conventionally grown ginger has gone up.
According to Dr Edwards, who leads an association of about 60,000 people in the ginger value-chain across 32 states in the country, Chinese ginger which is also in high demand, does not have as much spice as Nigeria’s ginger.
However, Europe which is the main export market has temporarily stopped import activities since the COVID-19 pandemic increased in severity.
Due to the COVID-19 spread in European countries, Ginger has turned into a hot product on the shelf in the last few weeks. “Big demand has created a huge market and prices are rising rapidly. Despite these high prices, consumers have not shied away from buying more and more ginger. There is a huge increase in ginger consumption at the moment,” says Gerry Li of Rida Trade.
The ginger shortage has been caused by a ban on imports from China, which is Russia’s main source of the root. Although Russia did not completely prohibit all Chinese fruit and vegetable imports, it did severely restrict them, which massively reduced the volume of Chinese fruit and vegetables in the Russian market. The few products available were already twice as expensive compared to several weeks ago, but rose further after the trade restrictions came in. Many Russian importers are looking for suppliers from other countries to replace Chinese imports, with Turkey being the most important of Russia’s sources for fruit and veg.
According to Gerry there are multiple factors that cause the price to increase. “Factory shutdowns are a factor, but there’s also the issue of logistics that arise once the factories start up again. There’s not a lot of space on the vessels available, as well as a general increase in demand due to the spread of the coronavirus in Europe. This all pushes up the market price for ginger.”
“Our factory in China still exports a large amount of ginger every week to the Dutch market, so we’re happy to be able to guarantee a sufficient supply for our loyal clients. This week we also received Brazilian ginger via airfreight, which was of good quality,” Gerry explains. “We’re working hard to be able to have a year round supply by also supplying Peruvian organic ginger. At this moment we have several containers arriving weekly at the Poeldijk warehouse.”
Dr Edwards disclosed that organic farming has become the in thing globally, despite being capital intensive, “it is globally regulated and Nigerians have started growing organic ginger”, she says.
She lamented the lack of processing plants that will add value to the crop in the country, especially with Nigerians awareness of the health benefits of ginger.
“We don’t have any processing facility in the country and this reduces the potential earnings for Nigeria, furthermore, countries like Dubai, Vietnam and China buy most of ours and after adding value, label them as made in their countries, whereas it is Nigerian ginger,” she said.
She disclosed that efforts have been going on since 2015 to attract investors to establish processing plants in the country.
“Presently the Central Bank’s (CBN) Anchor Borrowers Programme is looking our way, to help us stand on our feet, we are optimistic that the moment investors see that we are organised and recognised by our government, they will come forward. Nobody wants to invest in what is not backed up by your government,” she said.
She enthused that ginger was a highly sought after crop by pharmaceuticals, breweries, food processors and the cosmetic industry and that growing organic ginger was an added attraction for them.
She noted that a lot needed to be done in the industry, even though a lot has been done already to kick-start a revolution in the ginger value chain.
She urged Nigerian investors to put their monies in Nigeria, which has been highly blessed with the best varieties of crops ratings globally.
“The world will soon ask Africa to feed them – let us look inwards and invest here. The soil on its own is beautiful, sometimes we don’t even need fertilisers to grow some crops,” she said.
She noted that the organisation concentrated on developing youths along the value chain in states across the country, to inspire other youths to embrace agriculture, specifically ginger value-chain.
“As the president, I try to make them independent in order to inspire other youths, you will find them leading and doing well in Kaduna, Zamfara, Katsina and other states,” she said.
Dr Edwards added that where you do not find youths, you will find women leading, because the association set out to empower women and youths.
“The Association was formed solely to promote Organic Ginger Agribusiness in Nigeria, based on encouraging Women and Youth Farmers. That is why GGPMAN is having women in the heads of affairs in all the states of the Federation as state’s chairperson, thereby leading to its humanitarian services in the Value-chain,” she said.
She disclosed that GGPMAN has membership strength of over 200 thousand across Nigeria, and is an Agriculture Commodity which produces Ginger, Turmeric and Spices.
The Association has been in Partnership/Collaboration with Nigeria Army Farms and Ranches, US-Africa Trade Council, US-Nigeria Trade Council, Nigeria-America Chamber of Commerce, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SEDAN), All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) African Food Spices Producers and Marketers Association, Turmeric Dealers Association of Nigeria, Spice Dealers Association of Nigeria, Bank of Agriculture, Unity Bank, GGPMAN is breaking the ideology that Ginger can only be grown in the Northern region of Nigeria with its aim to reach the Global Market.
“As a National Association, we have represented Nigeria in so many international food exhibition, trade fairs and summits all over the world.
“We have gone to Dubai Gulf Food and Dubai Gulf Food Manufacturers Annually (for Five years in a row), other Ginger Exhibitions in Turkey, China, Hungary, Russia (so many times), Kingdom of Bahrain, Republic of Singapore, United Kingdom, Netherland, India, Brazil,
“We are poised with the aim of enriching and uplifting those women and youths in the rural areas as we seek to enrich both women and youths through agriculture as women are known to be labourers on ginger farms and processing sites. With our NGO called Women Farming Without Borders Initiatives, GGPMAN aimed in giving back and empowering Women, especially to become more proactive and productive, e.g. on the 23rd of December 2019, the Association went to Kagarko L.G in Kaduna State and gave Christmas gifts to 100 women i.e, 100 bags of rice, 4 Litres of groundnut oil (100 gallons), and 100 wrappers,” she said.
Dr Edwards added that the interesting part of Ginger was that no cow dares to eat ginger, so it is not threatened by herds’ destruction before harvest and can be left in the ground for two to three years without fear of destruction.
A doctor of divinity, Dr. Florence is also the Chairperson, Board of Trustees of ‘African Food Spices Producers and Marketers Association’. Her capability as a great manager, administrator, business mogul, with strong passion in agriculture, has led to her establishing the ‘Turmeric Dealers Association of Nigeria and Spice Dealers Association.