As Nigeria moves to diversify her earnings away from oil, the National Locusts Beans Producers Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria, has said that locust beans could generate enough income for the country if necessary steps are taken by the various levels of government.
The national president of the association Agu Samuel stated this when they pay a courtesy visit to the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment, Abuja.
Mr Samuel said that governments at all levels should enhance and modernize the production of locust beans, stressing that the country has a comparative advantage in its production.
“Locust beans is one of the crops that should be considered because Nigeria is a global leader in its production.
“It is high time the country improved and invested in the production of locust beans in order to stop the importation of tocopherol, which can be gotten abundantly from locust beans.
“We want the federal government to assist us to get at the international level so that they can accept our product anywhere in this world.
“Locust Beans is a product that everybody looks up to both the locals and internationals and this would also create jobs for Nigerians,” Mr stated.
He hower, called on the country to focus more on quality production of locust beans so as to stop the importation of some raw material that can be locally substituted for using locust beans.
Speaking on the economic importance of locust beans, executive secretary, Federation of Agricultural Commodity Association of Nigeria (FACAN) Prince Peter Bakare said with enough quantity of locust beans which can be substituted for imported tocopherol, it would enhance and improve Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) as well as creating employment opportunities.
“To work along the value chain from production to market, one has to consider productivity and adding values,” Bakare said.
According to him, the government needed to support farmers in the production of the crop and also promote value addition, saying that such support will help farmers produce at a lower cost and make their product competitive.