Citrus Fruits Value Chain Development in Nigeria

Olife, I.C., Ibeagha, O.A., Onwualu, A.P.


Citrus is one of the world’s most important economic fruit crops. It belongs to the group of fruits that includes oranges, lemon, limes, grape fruits and tangerines. Many citrus fruits are generally eaten fresh.  Oranges and grapefruit juices are popular breakfast beverages, but more astringent citrus such as lemons and limes are used for garnishing or in cooked dishes.  Citrus fruits are also made use of in production of squashes, citrus fruit powders, marmalade and other flavouring agents. After the extraction of the juice from the fruit, the resulting fruit pulp is a possible livestock feed and the rind oil is an expensive commodity in the international market.  Citrus seeds are also known to contain sweetening agents, which are being studied as probable sugar substitute.  Citrus peels can be used for the production of citric acid, lactic acid, feed yeast and vinegar. The leaves, flowers, peels, fruits and dried bark of citrus have important medicinal values.  The dried bark of citrus is a raw material for the production of insecticides. Citrus has also found use in the pharmaceutical, cosmetic and soap industries.

Citrus is grown globally with the largest commercial cultivation in Brazil and China. The 2007 Food and Agricultural Organization’s report rated Nigeria as the 9th citrus producing country with annual average production capacity of about 3,325,000 tonnes. However, citrus fruits produced in Nigeria are mostly consumed locally without much value addition. In an effort to promote increased production and processing of tropical fruits in the country, the Federal Government banned the importation of packed juice in 2002 and then launched a Presidential Initiative on Tropical Fruits Production in 2005. This paper examines the citrus value chain in Nigeria, efforts towards the development of citrus value chain, challenges and strategies for harnessing the potentials of citrus fruits for economic development of the country. The paper identifies lack of value addition as the major constraint in harnessing the citrus potentials in Nigeria. Other challenges identified include post harvest losses due to poor road network, lack of infrastructure for storage and preservation, lack of improved varieties, poor R&D funding and poor handling of the fruits during harvesting and transportation.  Strategies for effective development and utilization of citrus potentials in Nigeria were identified to include establishment of cold storage infrastructure across the country to reduce post harvest losses, adequate funding of Research for the development of improved varieties, establishment of citrus orchards, establishment of processing clusters and dedicated development of citrus value chain in Nigeria. Nigeria’s immense potentials in citrus production if well harnessed, will position the country in the lead in world trade production of the commodity and can save the country up to $480 million in import bills.

KEYWORDS: Fruits, citrus, post harvest losses, value chain, processing cluster.

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ISSN (Paper)2224-3208 ISSN (Online)2225-093X

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