Generally, the idea behind value addition is basically to increase the economic value of primary agricultural commodities. There’s more to be gained in adding value to agricultural commodities than merely exporting them in their primary state. Value addition not only inspires the ramping up of agricultural productivity but also promote import substitution industrialisation.
For Nigeria, agriculture contributes about 21% to the nation’s GDP and it’s an important non-oil magnet for foreign exchange. The sector represents a veritable low hanging fruit for the diversification and development of the economy. Nigeria is an important exporter of agricultural commodities like sesame, ginger, cocoa which rakes in billions of Naira annually to the economy.
Nigeria’s top 10 agricultural exports is estimated to have earned the country about N289.3 billion in one year (April 2019- march 2020). Sesame seed and cocoa dominated the export with the two commodities constituting about 60% of the entire products. However, the exports of these commodities undergo minimal or zero value addition processes.
Nigeria and by extension Africa is losing substantially due to the failure in adding value to their produce. In turn, the importers of the primary agricultural commodities simply add value to these products and export them back to us at extortionate prices. A good case in point is the Netherlands; it has one of the largest Cocoa processing industries globally.