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Low use of technology and low quality seeds have continued to hinder the Nigeria’s ginger potential as the country has seen its production stagnated over a period of time, farmers say.
The demand for ginger locally and for export has been on the rise but production has not been growing on the same trajectory, owing to the inability of farmers to access good quality seeds to increase their yield per hectare.
Innovation and technology use is still low in ginger production despite the country being the fifth largest producer of the crop, data for the WorldAtlas show.
“Most ginger farmers are not using tractors and other machines for land preparation. This is hindering our ability to increase our ginger production because farmers cannot increase their farming areas owing to the huge manual labour involved but with tractors we can farm on a larger scale,” said Zackari Mohammed, a ginger farmer in Kastina.
“We are still using local knife to split harvested ginger rhizomes but in China and India there is a machine for that. We lack modern processing machines for washing, peeling, splitting and drying kilns.
“Getting quality seeds is also a major issue for us farmers. It is difficult to get quality ginger seeds and most of the seeds in the country are of low quality. These are some of the reason why we are yet to increase our yield per hectare.
He stated that the demand for the country’s ginger is increasing yearly but the production to meet up with the huge demand has been stagnant.
Ginger is one of the most widely used food seasonings in modern diets. It is actually part of the plant family that includes turmeric cardamom that has huge health benefits.
Ginger can be consumed in different forms which include in powder form, refrigerated or frozen or fresh which is peeled before consumption. The plant is used as a spice and a major ingredient in a wide array of dishes.
It serves as a by-product to numerous food and beverage industries. It is used for the production of ginger wine and also for food seasoning in most Asia countries.
Powdered ginger is used in the production of flavour which is utilised in a variety of recipes such as cakes, cookies, bread, crackers, ginger ale, and beer.
Its root used as raw material in manufacturing health products, drinks and by bakery industry.
Nigeria’s ginger production is put at 31 million metric tons while demand is put at 65 million MT, leaving a supply-demand gap of 34 million MT, according to data from the Ministry of Agriculture.
The country exports majority of its ginger which makes Nigeria the third highest exporter of the crop globally.
Ginger is produced in six states of the Federation namely, Kaduna, Nasarawa, Benue, Niger and Gombe with Kaduna as the major producing state.
Nigeria ginger season lasts from October to February. Currently, a ton of fresh ginger is sold for $1,000 at the international market.