(Ecofin Agency) – A Nigerian Businessman, Pat Utomi, is currently developing the first $135 million agricultural commodities exchange in the country.
The exchange called Integrated Produce City Ltd. will be located near the southern city of Benin. The project will have storage facilities, including refrigerated warehouses, and host processing plants, once completed by the end of 2018. Among products to be traded on the exchange are cocoa, palm produce, cashew nuts, rubber, fresh fruit and vegetables, grains and tubers such as cassava and yams.
Utomi who is the Chief Executive Officer of the Integrated Produce City, said “The concept of a wholesale-produce market is to enable the farmer to fully dispose of his produce, instead of today where he loses 80 percent of his output that rots before it can reach the market. It will be an export hub for produce where exporters will have access to large quantities stored in one place rather than sending agents to individual farmers to collect small amounts.”
He noted that the company has raised 20% of the required $135 million and is in talks with lenders and investors from South Africa, China and Australia for additional capital. Integrated Produce City also on Monday signed an agreement with KPMG LLP’s Nigerian unit to help it raise more capital.
Nigeria’s economy has been hit hard by low output and a sharp drop in the prices of crude, which accounts for more than 90% of foreign income and two-thirds of government revenue. Due to this, Africa’s most populous country is boosting investment in agriculture in a bid to increase exports and cut food imports, which cost it $3.2 billion in 2015.