Following the current fungi infestation on ginger farms in Kaduna State that has claimed over 2,503.9 hectares of farmland, the Executive Director, Nigerian Export Promotion Council, Ezra Yakusak has decried that the country is likely to lose over N8bn in foreign earnings to this attack.
The NEPC boss raised the alarm about the forthcoming decline in non-oil export revenue, during the second National Conference on Non-Oil Export, in Abuja on Wednesday.
While urging the Federal government to declare a pandemic on ginger fungi infestation, Yakusak disclosed that the outbreak of a strange disease ravaging ginger farms in Kaduna State had affected about 2,503.9 hectares of farmland.
He said, “I will not do justice to this address if I do not present the challenges being faced by farmers and exporters of ginger in Nigeria. It is a known fact that Nigeria’s ginger has been adjudged as the best in the world due to its unique aroma, pungency and high oleoresin content. This makes Nigeria one of the largest exporters of ginger in the world.
“However, the Council received several complaints about the outbreak of a strange disease ravaging ginger farms in Kaduna State. So far, about 2,503.9 hectares of farmland have been affected with an estimated loss of over N8bn. Apart from the huge financial and economic loss, the disease is affecting the income and livelihood of ginger farmers who are mostly MSMEs.”
Yakusak explained that, “with the outbreak of the disease, Nigeria’s non-oil export performance may experience a steep decline, except the issue is adequately addressed. It is in this direction that I call on the Federal Government to declare the ginger fungi infestation as a crop pandemic and fight it with the same viciousness our nation fought the COVID-19 pandemic to a standstill.”
According to him, the conference was also to re-echo the message of the export for survival campaign and the need for Nigerians to imbibe an export culture for sustainable economic development.