New dawn for hibiscus flower beckons in Jigawa 

Jigawa state is at the forefront of producing and exporting hibiscus flower in no distant time as BAYO MUHAMMAD ALABIRA reports.

Recently Jigawa state government made a giant stride to transform its income base and reposition the state to boost individual earnings and encourage trade across international borders.

The state governor, Umar Namadi recently led other dignitaries from Nigeria to officially commission and launch the long-awaited Hibiscus Processing Plant ‘ComtraJigawa’ at the Maigatari Export Processing Zone (MEPZ).

Although the processing zone was established in 1992, but had never been put to use by previous administrations.

ComtraJigawa is a Public Private Partnership agreement between the state government and a private company, Commttraex Nigeria Limited, to process and export Hibiscus to the outside world. 

At the occasion, a border town between Nigeria and Niger Republic, it was declared that Jigawa is one of the leading states in Nigeria that produce quality hibiscus worth exported in large quantities.

Reiterating the fact

Gov Namadi said during the commissioning that  Commtraex is a Nigerian-based company with a reputation for processing and exporting hibiscus and other agricultural crops from Nigeria.

“Even though the partnership agreement with Commttraex Nigeria was signed since April 2022, it was only few moths ago that concerted efforts were made to ensure that the benefits of the partnership are actualised for the development of our people. 

“ComttraJigawa also represents an important milestone in our pursuit of agricultural transformation which places high premium on value addition across the entire agricultural values chain.

“Short of processing agricultural products into final consumer products, value addition, is what we require at the moment to optimise returns on investments,” he added.

Namadi further emphasized that over the last few years, the state has successfully pursued an Agricultural Transformation Programme which he pledged to sustain as part of his 12-Point Agenda.

Therefore, the state government is aiming at boosting economic diversification, job creation, provision of sustainable means of livelihoods for the citizens and to achieve overall poverty reduction. 

“While we do not have accurate and reliable statistics on the production level and value of export of hibiscus, empirical evidences indicate that hibiscus business is now a multi-billion Naira industry of its own which has greatly impacted the livelihoods of our people.

“Jigawa is a major producer of hibiscus flower in Nigeria most of which are being exported. More are produced in the state than any other state in Nigeria which makes us a leading producer and exporter in Nigeria,” Namadi said.

He observed that the value addition of hibiscus production has been very limited; as a result, it makes the gain for farmers to be very low and sub-optimal.

“It is my firm belief that the establishment of ComttraJigawa will change the narrative.

“With a daily cleaning capacity of 6 tons and a daily fumigation capacity of 48 tons, the installed Hibiscus Processing Plant would be a game changer,” he emphasised. 

According to him, ComtraJigawa would enhance production of quality hibiscus and processing in the state and transform the state into a leading ‘hub’ for aggregation, cleaning, fumigation and subsequent export of the product from Nigeria. 

He charged the cooperating partners: ‘InvestJigawa’ on the government side and Commtraex, to continue to work together to sustain the moment of success.

“I urge both parties to work as a team and to carry along all key players in the hibiscus industry to ensure that ComttraJigawa operates all year round at full capacity and everybody gets optimal return for their investments from the farmers to the exporters.

“Jigawa state is today a major contributor to national food security and the diversification of the national economy being among the topmost producers of many food and cash crops particularly rice, wheat, sesame, industrial tomato, and of course, the hibiscus flower.

“Through ComttraJigawa, we would enhance the quality and quantity of hibiscus production and processing in our state, making it a leading hub for this booming industry in Nigeria and beyond,” he concluded.

About ComtraJigawa

ComtraJigawa is a pivotal Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) that was strategically crafted to facilitate a dynamic partnership between Jigawa state government and Commttraex Nigeria Limited.

With the support of Invest Jigawa, this alliance quickly translated into tangible progress. Through this concerted efforts, a state-of-the-art Fumigation Chamber and a cutting-edge facility for cleaning and processing hibiscus flowers was established in Maigatari. 

This venture operates under the banner of ComtraJigawa which aims at elevating the state into a preeminent hub for hibiscus production and processing in Nigeria.

However, this partnership stimulates robust economic growth, creating a ripple effect of prosperity throughout the region, which served as beacon of opportunity for the local farmers.

ComtraJigawa embodies the spirit of collaborative innovation and forward-thinking progress. It has not only reshaped the landscape of hibiscus industry but also fostered a future characterized by inclusive growth, resilience, and sustainable development for the people of Jigawa.

Maigatari Export Processing Zone (MEPZ) was established 32 years ago through Decree No 63 of 1992 with an area of 2.2kms phase I which is bounded by beacons nos MG26 to MG67 and a reserved land space of 5.7kms as phase II respectively.

It is a clearly demarcated duty-free commercial area within Nigeria, considered to be outside custom territory having close proximity to Nigeria’s international boundary for encouraging commerce and industry particularly the export of made-in-Nigeria goods. 

Although EPZ is an enclave area, the procedure for entry and exit of goods into the zone shall be different from the entry/exit into the ordinary customs area because the title is of a free zone nature.

Since its establishment 32 years ago, it has been fully utilised. Previous administrations tried but could not successfully put it to use untill the current administration refurbished and constructed the processing plant to international standard. 

Maigatari Export Processing Zone provides a viable option to address the major economic constraints of unemployment, low productivity, low commercial and trading activities and low income and IGR for both the state government and its partners.