Nigeria’s agricultural production of sorghum has leaped to the second place, now trailing only the United States in annual production.
Data obtained from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) forecasts world sorghum production at 59.34 million metric tonnes for 2017/2018.
Of this number, USA’s output is projected to reach 8.4m metric tonnes while Nigeria is second with 6.4m metric tonnes, and Mexico comes in the third position with 6.0m metric tonnes.
According to the USDA data, sorghum production was 63.08 million metric tonnes in 2016. This year’s output of 59.34 million metric tonnes represents a decrease of 3.74 million tonnes or a -5.93% decrease.
Sorghum is a local grain that grows predominantly in the semi-arid, savannah and grassland region of Northern Nigeria and other parts of the world.
Nigerian Breweries Plc (“NB”), the nation’s largest brewer and one of the major industrial consumers of sorghum noted in its Sustainability Report tagged “Enhancing the Sorghum Value Chain” that the industrial sector, especially food and beverages utilized 20% or 1.3m metric tonnes of the grain as raw materials in 2015, while 80% or 4.2 million metric tonnes were utilised to produce food and livestock feed.
NB said that its demand for sorghum is approximately 100,000 metric tonnes per year.
Sorghum is said to be nutritionally rich and serves as a staple food in most parts of Northern Nigeria. The grain has assumed commercial relevance in recent years, especially in the food and beverage sector. It is said to be a valuable ingredient next to malted barley used in the brewery industry.