Why Nigeria’s SAPZ Should Explore Avocado Culture

Avocado cultivation in Nigeria has yet to take off as many people still plant pears for subsistence purposes. Only a few now cultivate it as a cash crop for large-scale commercial purposes, although it has a readily available market worldwide.

The fruit, a naturally nutrient-dense food that is high in vitamins and minerals, is also known as “green gold” for its high prices and because it can generate foreign exchange in large volumes each year.

However, government efforts to boost agricultural production and productivity by strengthening market linkages and industrialization are mainly oriented towards the development of basic commodities, such as cocoa, rice and maize, with little or no no emphasis on under-explored plant species such as avocado.

The recently launched Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZ) program in Nigeria focuses on cocoa, rice, maize, beef, dairy cattle, tomato, cassava, ginger, groundnuts, sesame oil, poultry, fish and soybeans across Imo, Cross River, Kaduna, Kano, Kwara, Ogun, Oyo and the Federal Capital Territory.

In states like Cross River and Imo in particular, which are known to be major avocado producing states, the SAPZ program will launch the first stage of its initiative. According to the African Development Bank (AfDB), the crops that Cross River will focus on in terms of value chain development include cocoa, rice and cassava. He will focus on cattle and dairy farming in Imo.

The initiative, which involves setting up an agricultural hub in prime locations across the country, could be the boost the avocado value chain needs to recover.

According to the Avocado Society of Nigeria, Nigeria can earn over N80 billion a year from the export of Hass avocados, the dark green bumpy-skinned variety of avocado, if done commercially.

“Eating foods high in good (unsaturated) fats, such as fresh avocados, in place of foods high in saturated fats has been shown to help reduce disease risk factors and promote overall health” , he said on his website.

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According to AVOSON, Hass avocados mature between 2 and 3 years, have a long shelf life of over 50 years and have a guaranteed market.

“It’s an investment like no other. With just an investment of N500,000 per acre, you can get a minimum of N3 million per year,” he said.

Avocados require minimal maintenance. It’s a low-risk business that requires inexpensive inputs, low maintenance, and less attention.

Studies show that avocado has other health benefits, including improving digestion, lowering the risk of depression, and protecting against cancer. Avocado pear prevents hair loss and promotes smooth skin.

In 2020, former President Olusegun Obasanjo has branched out into the avocado culture as part of efforts to set an example for unemployed youth seeking white-collar jobs at the expense of agribusiness. industry and agricultural practices, and to contribute to the country’s goals of being the largest producer of avocado cultivation in Africa by 2030.

At the time, Obasanjo revealed that the country has all the qualities and capabilities required to take over East African countries in avocado planting and farming by 2030.

So far, however, little has been done in this regard, experts said.

Avocado oil as well as its pulp are used in cosmetics industry, pharmaceutical companies and therapeutic activities.

Analysts say Nigeria can be competitive in the global avocado trade as there is a growing demand for the product from major importers like Belgium, France, UK, Germany, India. Spain and America.

“One-third of an avocado provides 6g of healthy fats and 3g of fiber,” AVOSON says on its website.