Over the years, nutritionists and various organisations with the mandate of promoting good healthy living through food consumption have been informing people the benefits of eating vegetables. In most cases, the likely benefits have been pivoted on the fact that people who eat different categories of the crop are likely to have a reduced risk of some chronic diseases. Vegetables are rich in a particular group of nutrients called antioxidants, which fight cellular damage and help prevent heart disease, cancer, Parkinson’s disease, atherosclerosis, heart attack and Alzheimer’s disease, according to the Linus Pauling Institute, Oregon. Despite the various health benefits and economic values linked to the crop, some countries are lagging behind in terms of consumption and production.
Vegetables which encompass pumpkins, tomatoes, onions, carrots, lettuce, cabbage, cucumbers, potatoes among others were consumed mostly in China, Armenia, Albania, Iran, Montenegro, according to a 2011 estimate. In the same year, Nigeria’s consumption was 65kg per person in a day and ranked 66 among 88 countries in the world. Since the country attained the position, local consumption has continued to increase exponentially while the production is declining every year. Our analysis establishes that in 2017, Nigeria will 23.6 million metric tons deficit of the crop because farmers would only produce 7.2 million metric tons, against 30.8 million the whole population needs. The analysis also indicates that in 2020 and 2025, Nigeria will have a deficit of 49.9 and 153.4 million metric tons respectively. The results show that there would be ‘a vegetable crisis’ from 2017 to 2025 if the right policies and business decisions are not taken by the concerned stakeholders. Setting the right policies and taking informed business decisions would help governments and the citizenry. For instance, our projected producers’ price per metric tons of the crop shows that farmers are likely to sell it $988 in 2017, $947 in 2018 and $907 in 2019. However, in 2020, the price will slump to $869 due to many factors such as weather conditions.

Source: Multiple Sources, Enterprations Analysis, 2017

Foreign market size
Historically, countries within Europe continent are the top consuming nations. The Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and Belgium are the leading direct importers of fresh vegetables from developing countries. The Netherlands is the biggest importer from outside the EU with almost 2.6 million tons of fruit and 367 thousand tons of vegetables, according to a recent estimate. In 2014, Morocco, Egypt, Turkey, China, Peru, Kenya, and Senegal led among the countries that supplied fresh vegetables to the EU in million tons. The recent icy and rainy weather Southern Europe, especially Spain and Italy from which countries like United Kingdom imports most of its fresh vegetables indicates an opportunity that farmers and aspiring entrepreneurs in Nigeria should exploit. According to BBC report, the bad weather is likely to significantly increase the price of vegetables across northern Europe. For instance, British supermarkets have been forced to ration vegetables after floods and storms ransacked crops across the Mediterranean. Another measure being taken by the retailers is the ration. By this, buyers are being restricted to the specific quantity they can buy at one time, with broccoli and iceberg lettuces among the worst affected vegetables.
Local market size
In Nigeria and other countries in West Africa region, the consumption is increasing yearly, according to Food and Agriculture Organisation’s projection. In Nigeria, consumption quantities differ from one zone to another and city to another. Lagos, Kano, Ibadan, Kaduna, and Port-Harcourt remain top consuming cities, according to our analysis. In Lagos, 3.3 million metric tons are estimated to consume by the residents while 1.7 million metric tons would be consumed in Kano. In Ibadan, Kaduna, and Port-Harcourt, Nigerians in these cities are expected to consume over 573,000; 254,000 and 187,000 respectively. When it is the supplying of edible vegetables and certain roots and tubers, Benin Republic, Cote d ‘Ivoire and Ghana markets worth pursuing by Nigerian farmers. In 2015, Cote d ‘Ivoire imported vegetables valued $34.5 and $5.1 million from Holland and Niger respectively. In the same year, Ghana imported vegetables valued $6.4 and $5.7 million dollars from Niger and Burkina Faso accordingly. The bulk of the Benin Republic’ import was from her colonial master, France, and Belgium. The country imported vegetables worth $883,000 from France and $768,000 from Belgium. Our analysis of local production with the prices charged by the producers per metric ton in 2016, which was projected into 2017 and 2018 indicates that prospective producers in these years have $7.1 billion and $7 billion to make respectively.

Source: Multiple Sources, Enterprations Analysis, 2017

Source: Multiple Sources, Enterprations Analysis, 2017

Vegetables Nigerians need
Watercress, beets, spinach and parsley are some of the categories of vegetables Nigerian farmers and aspiring entrepreneurs need to focus on. These vegetables are beneficial to the people, especially those suffering from chronic diseases and others. Watercress is a dark and leafy green vegetable usually used in preparing salads and soups. It has been found to be useful in preventing complications of diabetes, heart disease, breast cancer. Beets has been discovered to be a proactive remedy for coronary artery disease and stroke. It offers protection against the disease because of unique pigment antioxidants in its root as well as top-greens. Spinach is known as Okazi in among the Igbo ethnic group while Yoruba called it soko. Eating spinach could offer life-changing benefits man’s health and overall appearance, according to scientists. This has been premised on the fact that the vegetable is spinach is loaded with zeaxanthin and carotenoids lutein, which are essential substances that can make eyes look more youthful and brighter. Producing parsley would be a right decision in saving Nigerians from $200 million spent annually on the treatment of cancer abroad. Parsley known as effirin in Yoruba and nchawu in Ibo reduces the ability of cancer cells to migrate and metastasize. When compared to 47 other fresh plants with cancer prevention properties, parsley was one of the top four herbs revealed to have the highest inhibitory effects on cancer-inducing inflammatory compounds, according to a recent study. Beyond production, aspiring entrepreneurs could also explore consumer education market. Nigerians need to be equipped with the right knowledge about the benefits of eating varied vegetables to improve their health.