Why are we Selling Prosperity to Buy Poverty? A look at the maize value chain.
If you’ve been wondering why we as Nigerians and indeed Africans are still wallowing in poverty, then here’s the answer: we are aggressively and passionately selling prosperity to buy poverty.
Yes, it’s true. Let me take you on an example. Let’s look at the maize value chain. From N12,000 per 50Kg bag in 2017, the price of maize has fallen precipitously to N5,000 per 50Kg bag in 2019. That’s a staggering 58.3% reduction in value in just two years. Sorghum and millet have experienced even worse free-falls.
On the contrary, the market price of the now very popular Kelloggs Cornflakes has been skyrocketing.
Just take a look at the math:
50Kg of Maize = N5,000
That’s 1Kg of Maize = N100
But 1Kg of Kelloggs on Jumia Store = N4,350
Therefore 1Kg of imported Kelloggs Cornflakes is a whopping 4,350% more valuable than 1Kg of locally produced maize.
The question is: what’s the brain surgery in making cornflakes? Nothing! What’s the big deal in providing funding and infrastructural support to local manufacturers to locally produce a substitute to Kelloggs Cornflakes?
How on earth can we be prosperous when we have bequeathed over 4,000% of our commodity value to others? How can we reduce our yawning balance of payment deficit, accelerate job creation and boost economic diversification when we’re selling maize and importing cornflakes?
Except we accelerate #AgriculturalIndustrialization in Nigeria and Africa, then, poverty alleviation shall eternally remain a mirage.
What shall we then do?
- Build the capacity of young Africans to operate cottage maize extrusion plants.
- Ensure that young entrepreneurs have access to basic infrastructure such as electricity, water, roads etc to enhance their operations and reduce their overheads.
- Provide them access to cheap capital, hassle-free licensing and world class business mentoring to enable them start and run profitable cornflakes manufacturing businesses.
- Provide them with access to markets for their products by discouraging import of substitutes.
The time to act is Now!
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