The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) on Tuesday the 21st of January announced that it has concluded plans to commence a N9 billion Moringa oleifera farming plantation project across the 774 local government areas of Nigeria. This was disclosed by Michael Ashimashiga, MAN’s President while addressing the press.

Ashimashiga explained the importance of the plant and the body’s agenda to address the problem of unemployment in Nigeria with the project. Although MAN has 5,000 members, it intends to employ 10 million youth across the country for the cultivation of the plant during the next rainy season and also sell the produce to meet both local and high export demand. 

India is currently the main global supplier of the Moringa plant. Nevertheless, its European customers are interrogating whether the organic-certified Indian moringa leaves are truly organic. 

Moreover, more African suppliers are entering this growing market. With the N9 billion moringa plantation project, the West African giant would be strategically positioning itself for a fair share in the global moringa market. But the project is more than just earning dollars through exportation.

A report which reveals the findings of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) shows that the unemployment rates in Africa’s most populous country increased from 18.8 percent in the third quarter of 2017 to 23.1 percent in the third quarter of 2018. The report which classified the unemployed as people doing nothing at all or who worked under 20 hours a week indicated an increase in unemployment rates from 17.6 million in Q4 2017 to 20.9 million in Q3 2018.  MAN’s new moringa project will go a long way in addressing the problem of unemployment across the West African Country. 

However, it is equally vital that MAN implements strategic measures to guide the employment of its targeted 10 million unemployed Nigerians to avoid the prevalence of “ghost-workers” or child labour scandals. Moreso, its employment scheme should create an educational platform for employees, where they would be enlightened on new discoveries of the plant in an effort to expand the moringa value chain.  

The Moringa plant is increasingly popular in the European market for food supplements. The plant’s dried leaves are marketed for a wide range of health benefits, based on their high level of antioxidant activity and chemical composition. The rapidly increasing global demand for moringa now offers opportunities for people in the value chain to venture into large scale production even as scientists keep making new findings on the health benefits of the plant.

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