For Nigeria, the Zobo plant - or Hibiscus sabdariffa - is a very promising cash crop; in 2017, Nigeria exported 1,983 containers of it to Mexico alone, earning $35 million within a space of nine months. Mexico and other countries use the hibiscus as organic colouring agents. Dried hibiscus also serves as a delicacy while the roselles are consumed as vegetables.
The Coordinating Director of the Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS), dr Vincent Isegbe, has disclosed plans by the Federal Government to resume the export of hibiscus (zobo leaves) to Mexico. He disclosed this during a visit by the Mexican Ambassador to Nigeria, Marco Antonio Garcia Blanco, last weekend.
The NAQS had suspended hibiscus export to Mexico following the detection of a pest in some hibiscus consignments. Now, that issue has been resolved - in collaboration with stakeholders across the value chain - paving the way for his country to start trade with the largest importer of Nigerian hibiscus again.
Naijanews.com quoted Dr Isegbe as saying: “In a couple of weeks, we will resume shipments to Mexico. Our farmers are eager and the fields are near ready. The harvest season of hibiscus will start any moment from now. And the good news is that Nigeria boasts a vast growing belt, with harvests lasting up to five months.’’