Based on my own personal experience about cosmetics’ raw materials or farm food produce, I will run away from any impurities and harmful chemical preservatives in food. So many Nigerian farm produce had been rejected in some parts of the world because of their low quality parameters which the said countries never considered safe for human consumption. But if we consider it safe for our own consumption, then we must have a rethink that is not safe for us anymore. If other country food regulatory body condemns it for consumption then, together we must find a way to make it safe for us first before other countries will embrace it and buy from us.
Cosmetic industries need some basic raw materials for their production and considering the population of the world, one can conclude that food is the most important, and dieting on a good and healthy food becomes important to every living soul. Most of the times, I ask myself if Nigerian government has an agricultural extension body or agency that gives farmers information and strategies to improve their output. Most of the farmers found in Nigeria are illiterate and mostly poor, accessibility to up to date agricultural farmers program is very difficult and they end up relying on their own ideas and knowledge which is out dated.
“Sometimes back, a client called me from the United States for shea butter and requires specifically Shipment from Ghana. I felt embarrassed on why a client will force me to add to the economy of Ghana and not my country’s? I took the order and I use it as a basement for my research into the product, quality, availability, and market research.At the end of the day, I found out why Nigerian Shea butter are being rejected often internationally.”
If you ask me why Nigerian Shea butter is often rejected, then I will answer you with a question that; which company is producing the Shea butter and how are they producing it? Unlike in the developed countries. Even Ghana, where most of the Shea nut available in the market is being extracted and refined with semi automated machines given by their government to assist the Ghanaian women in running the business. The Nigerian counterpart leaves the production in the hands of local villagers using old and cruel ways of extraction to roast, extract, refine and preserve the butter leaving the final product with many impurities and bad odor. Every season of harvest, foreign buyers flood Nigerian markets to export the Shea nut for further processing that will meet up with their required standard. So if it were to be the Shea nut that is bad, then no buyer will come for it. It’s only the Shea butter they considered bad because of the extracting, refining and preservative methods.
If only we can advance to automated factories, where we can extract and refine the Shea nut here in Nigeria, no buyer will ever demand for our product and if we are to continue using the traditional way of extraction, then we must educate, enlighten the old village women doing it and also support them with basic tools and finance. According to my research, Ghanaian women add the roots of the African borotutu tree which add more yellowish color to the natural butter and therefore making it looks nice and attractive.
Recently, an entrepreneur friend relates to me when we were discussing most of the challenges we face in our business, and how best to overcome it, then he mention Nigeria white beans. He then open up to me that he can no longer export white beans to his client in Europe because they tag his product chemical laden goods and the client results to receiving goods from south Africa instead.
Because of bad preservative measures of beans against weevils, most illiterate farmers uses harmful chemicals which are considered very harmful for human consumption and probably cause cancer if taken in large quantities mostly measured in (mg).
In conclusion, find below the list of reasons why most foreign buyers turn down Nigeria Agricultural produce:
Poor harvesting method.
Poor preservative measures.
Poor storage facilities.
Traditional means of extraction (Oil seeds and Nut).
Illiteracy and Poverty.