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Huge potential for U.S. red meat in Nigeria, despite export obstacles

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Country can be difficult market from a regulatory standpoint; significant opportunities for U.S. sausages in the country's rapidly developing retail sector.

In recent years, the U.S. meat industry has made inroads into Africa but never Nigeria, which has been closed to U.S. beef and pork. But USDA recently announced a partial opening with Nigeria now accepting sausages and similar processed products. Africa Representative Matt Copeland says Nigeria has enormous potential but cautions exporters about potential difficulties in the market.

"I can't explain how big Nigeria actually is, if they kick in demand wise. It's wonderful to have this massive whale as a trading partner. Obviously, if the oil price is good, Nigeria can be the biggest economy on the continent. Certainly, it's the most populous country by a long way and so we want to make sure we know all of the importers well, and we want to make sure that the big importers that are gearing very well with the retail environment there, that we are speaking with them and with the retailers to make sure as soon as it opens properly, that we can leverage promotions," Copeland says.

"Nigeria is a difficult market, if things go wrong, you need to vet your trading partner really well. And two, there is some very technical tricky law regarding trademarks, and so I'd be encouraging anyone who sees that market and they would like to be vertically integrated into it and not just trade into it, they would do well to invest a little bit of research around trademarks."

Despite these obstacles, President and CEO Dan Halstrom sees Nigeria as a very promising destination for U.S. red meat.

"I remember my trip down to Lagos, Nigeria a few years ago, while the wet markets and traditional wholesale markets still dominate, there was definite presence of modern retail and within this modern retail I would even go so far as to say there was specialty retail to the equivalent of like a Whole Foods, and this is several years ago," Halstrom says. "So it really reminded me of how Mexico City looked in the 1980s, you see all those signs with social media, with a young demographic with increased purchasing power. Lagos Nigeria is going to develop in a very quick way and I don't think it'll take nearly as long as it took Mexico City."

Source: U.S. Meat Export Federation, which is solely responsible for the information provided, and wholly owns the information. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset. The opinions of this writer are not necessarily those of Farm Progress/Informa.

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