In time past, ahead of the yearly St. Valentine’s Day celebration, an estimated one million roses were exported from Nigeria to other countries by February 10, with a total of $1m accruing to farmers and exporters, The Guardian learnt.
But that is no more, as the country now relies solely on importation of the commodity from Kenya, Ethiopia and other countries, losing several millions in foreign exchange.
The Pest Management Specialist, Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS), Dr. Dayo Folorunso, told The Guardian that rose cultivation and exportation was a lucrative business in the country some years back, with the likes of Tony Farm, located in Lokoja, Kogi State tapping into the window of opportunity.
It was learnt that when the price crashed in the international market about eight to nine years ago, due to the incursion of the Chinese into the business, the farm recorded a colossal loss and since then has diversified into another line of cultivation.
Though he couldn’t give the figure of what the country exports then, Folorunso disclosed that roses can be planted anywhere across the country, based on the fact that Nigeria has favourable weather conditions.
He said: “The only challenge is marketability. When you cultivate with huge money and you find it difficult to sell at a price that is commensurate to your cost of production, you are bound to record losses and you may be discourage from going on with the type of business.”