BY ONOME AMUGE
Despite being the second largest producer of soybean in Africa and the fourth largest sesame producer in the world, the value chain is largely underutilised in Nigeria, leading to a shortfall in livestock feed and consequent constraint in organic livestock production.
Victor Olowe, a board member of the International Society for Organic Agriculture Research (ISOFAR), made the observation during an online presentation on the production of oilseed crops and value chain organised by the Go Organic Initiative.
The agriculture expert noted that Nigeria’s installed annual soybean crushing capacity stands at 600,000 tonnes but soybean crushers are operating at 60 percent, resulting in their inability to meet the growing demand for soybean oil and meal by consumers.
“I always lament whenever I see children hawking roasted sesame, soybean and groundnut on the street because that’s how we waste valuable raw materials that can earn cool foreign exchange,’’ he said.
Olowe also attributed the high level of smuggling of vegetable oil across Nigeria’s borders for the lack of accurate data on the volume of organic oilseeds produced in the country.
According to him, most of the sesame seeds produced in the country are exported illegally and the volume of such exports are not captured by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
To this end, Olowe called for an increase in organic oilseed production and processing from sesame and soybean, noting that it would make organic feedstuff readily available to farmers at affordable rates.
He further encouraged organic livestock producers in Nigeria to embrace oilseed cake meal in feeding their livestock for improved production.