Alhaji Lawan Ali, President of the Castor Oil Growers, Processors, and Marketers Association, stated over the weekend in Sagamu, Ogun State, at the unveiling of an indigenous manufacturing firm, Agape Great Grace Ventures, that the firm was the first in Africa and would not only save Nigeria huge import costs but would also stimulate all sectors of the economy.
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He stated that the new company would boost the cosmetics, pharmaceutical, and paint manufacturing industries, among others.
“The level of cosmetics importation is high; with this factory, they will not need to import because local manufacturers will have access to the primary raw material required for manufacturing,” Ali explained.
Castor oil is readily available to manufacturers.
Prof. Hussaini Ibrahim, Director-General of the Raw Material Research and Development Council (RMRDC), stated that his organization, as part of its mandate for industrial growth, promotion, and utilization, has gathered farmers in the southwest and provided them with high-quality seeds to cultivate, as well as making castor oil readily available to manufacturers.
Farmers, he said, have been assured of ongoing patronage and support as long as they cultivate the seed.
According to him, the seed, which was previously cultivated in the northern part of the country, is now cultivated in the south west as a result of RMRDC’s strategy of encouraging new entrants into the bleached castor oil manufacturing industry.
Ibrahim, who was represented by Lagos RMRDC Coordinator Mr. Tokunbo Habeeb, stated that the crop has enormous potential for cultivation and output in the country.
According to him, this is why RMRDC is increasing farmer capacity to cultivate and produce the commodity from the south-west, as well as increasing production of agricultural-based raw materials in order to maintain raw material availability to manufacturing industries.
He went on to say that castor seed is one of the agricultural commodities in which Nigeria has a comparative advantage in cultivation and processing, despite the fact that the crop is a globally versatile raw material in high demand from China, Brazil, India, and many South American countries.
“There is enormous potential for local cultivation and output of the crop in Nigeria, which is why RMRDC is increasing farmer capacity to cultivate and produce the commodity in both the South-West and the North-West.
“To alleviate the drudgery of castor shelling, the council imported two castor shellers, one of which was given to members of the Castor Producers, Processors, and Marketers Association” (CPPMA).
“In addition, a consortium of local engineers is currently working on the design and fabrication of the other machine,” Ibrahim explained.
He stated that because this was the first time, the council would ensure that whatever quantities of castor seeds were cultivated by farmers were procured at ongoing rates by off-takers with the capacity to process into oil and other derivatives.