Friday, 13 July 2012

Nigerian farmers are having difficulty  selling vegetables to the high end market, as foreign-owned supermarkets such as Shoprite, import green pepper, carrots and tomatoes from their countries of origin, ignoring the Federal Government’s Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) which aims to generate employment and grow wealth for farmers.
Industry watchers say this is a hindrance to the ATA of the government which is being passionately driven by the minister for agriculture, Akinwunmi Adesina. Currently, South African retailers, such as Shoprite and Spar  lead the grocery business in the country which also include Park and Shop and Goodies with their malls sprouting fast across the country.
Ironically, much of the imported consumables are in-organically grown, with the potential for medically challenging illnesses such as obesity and cancer, which are quite rampant in countries that are largely dependent on ‘chemical food.’
Dare Ogunbanjo, an exotic and local vegetables producer said his firm approached a major South African-owned supermarket, to supply vegetables and their response was cold.
“They prefer to bring vegetables from outside the country. It is cheaper because the enabling environment of these countries is better than that of Nigeria. And it is because they want to make mega profit,” Ogunbanjo told BusinessDay.
“What we produce here is fresher and more nutritious because it is organically grown, and therefore healthy. In those countries, vegetables such as tomatoes are synthetically produced with fertilisers in greenhouses in about three weeks, half the time it should be grown. So these vegetables are very cheap. But even in these countries, organically grown vegetables cost about 10 times more than the synthetically grown ones
Russia’s Foreign Ministry warned Nigeria on Thursday, of potential damage to bilateral relations and urged action against a court decision that stripped the world’s largest aluminium producer, Russia’s Rusal, of its core African asset.
Nigeria’s supreme court ordered last week that Rusal, which owns 85 percent of the formerly state-run Aluminium Smelter Company of Nigeria (ALSCON), should cede its ownership, because the assets should have gone to another bidder, U.S. based BFI Group, when ALSCON was privatised five years ago.
Rusal said the ruling was against Nigeria’s Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), which handled the privatisation and gave Rusal the green light to acquire the stake for $205 million in 2007. The decision would thus not affect its ownership of ALSCON, the company said.
“The ruling could ... to a significant extent undermine Russian-Nigerian investment and economic cooperation and incur negative consequences for the whole scope of bilateral ties,” the ministry said in a statement on its website
“We urge the Nigerian government to take the necessary actions in order to prevent potential damage to the existing fruitful and mutually beneficial relations,” the statement said.
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