Abuja, March 2, 2017.(TNE): Nigeria earned at least 43 million dollars from exportation of gum Arabic in 2017, even as the Federal Government earmarks N263 million to boost its production and export this year.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr Audu Ogbeh, made this known in Abuja.
He said Gum Arabic seedlings would be produced locally by a research institute in Benin for distribution to farmers, particularly in the northern part of the country where gum arabic is being produced in large quantity.
”We are intensifying production, especially in states like Yobe and Borno, which have been devastated by war.
”’These seedlings will be produced at a cost of about N263 million by our own institute in Benin to provide seedlings for farmers.
”Last year, we earned 43 million dollars from Gum Arabic and now we are trying to increase the production and strengthen the capacity of Nigeria to export Gum Arabic,” he said
The minister explained that approval had been given to distribute cassava stems to farmers in 21 states in the southern part of the country, as well as Kano state in the north.
According to him, the cassava stems, which will be developed by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) Ibadan, and the National Root Crops Research Institute, Umudike, Abia state, will strengthen and intensify cassava production in the country.
Gum Arabic, or Gum Acacia, is a leguminous tree species harvested from the exterior of Acacia trees in the form of dry, hard nodules. Gum Arabic contains a high percentage of natural soluble fibers and calcium.
Its use remains in confectionery, hard and soft gums and gum pastilles.
Meanwhile, the minister has dismissed the recent reported importation of garri from India, describing it as “quite interesting”.
”’While we are increasing cassava production, we heard they are importing garri from India, Its sounds quite interesting, we do know that we are the biggest producer of cassava in the world, the biggest producer of yam.
”’Maybe, it was a matter of how it was packaged that attracted the importers but I don’t see any market for them,” he added.
Ogbeh said that Nigeria would continue to export cassava to China to generate more foreign exchange earnings.(TNE)