Written by egbe adeta


Amongst many things that baffle me about Africans and Nigerians specifically is our inane love of everything foreign to the extent that we will deplete our foreign reserve over things as mundane as fruits– fruits people, fruits!!

Let’s see how many tons of orange, tangerine, banana, pine-apple etc. Do we (Nigeria) export anything, to, say UK?

Answer None. That’s right none

Does UK import exotic fruits?

Answer Yes

The pie chart below shows nations exporting fruits to the UK and Nigeria is right on the – Nope. Nigeria ain’t on the chart. Why? We only Import we do not export except of course crude which is then resold to us as finished good (and crude oil is fast becoming an outdated commodity- once progressive societies solidify sustainable and renewable energy sources crude will be a commodity no sane nation wants to touch) — I digress

Countries of origin (imports) for UK fruit (2012)

Source: ITC Trade Map

Yet if you look you find on every corner, street-traders with wares of foreign fruits on display apples, pear, plum, grapes. I have never understood why and I never will understand it. Ignorance I suppose or a clear case of misplaced priorities. If we lack the; wherewithal and  comparative advantage to allow us compete favourably on the international food export scene we should at least grow for local consumption and stop importing dead fake fruits onto our shores.

The pie chart below shows the UK exports just about as much fruits as it imports. It is plain and obvious that a mono or single product economy is a sure recipe for a weak and vulnerable economic condition. 

Destinations for UK vegetable exports (2012)

Source: ITC Trade Map

We are so shortsighted that we fail to see how we continually shortchange ourselves; engaging in activities that entrench poverty in our society

Why are we importing fruits from temperate regions into a tropical country with a rich rain-forest, arable land and sunny weather that supports rich agricultural bounty? Why?!

Pitiful is our state. The ordinary man who earns less than 50usd a month still parts with his inflation ridden NGN to purchase a shiny apple or pear that has been waxed/irradiated and hence devoid of any nutrient (can’t blame him. I usually have to go into the interior of open markets to get locally grown fruits: orange, tangerine, pineapple, mango, agbalumo, guava, cashew fruit etc. etc. when they are in season). Locally grown fruits are scarce whilst foreign fruits litter our streets– What is wrong with us?!

The foregoing is just a tip of the economic impact of fruit importation now to the health implication and nutritional quality which is the central message of this article.

Have you ever stopped to ask yourself why those foreign fruits are ever shiny and appear fresh with no dent (bug marks)? That is because they are dead (not living) — I kid you not you may as well be eating plastic or paper. These Fruits travel a long distance (air & road) to reach you for them to retain a façade of freshness they are waxed or irradiated. It is worthy of note that mainstream consensus says irradiation is safe this is one of few places that says otherwise read both sides throw in a dose of commonsense to reach an informed decision.

You don’t need a degree in health or food science to understand that eating (mostly) locally grown & in-season foods provides high quality nutrient than eating foods that were harvested before it reached its peak. Real foods as shown in the pictures below  have bug marks and aren’t perfect looking but are nutrient dense.

Real guava harvested from a local orchard that utilizes organic fertilizers

eat fresh foods and fruits

freshly harvested guava from a backyard garden


Rich juicy tomatoes note the marks and unevenness

image source

Growing ones food may not seem appealing but in view of the practices of the players of the food industry it may be the only option one is left with. Produce grown by local farmers can’t be entirely trusted as some use chemical fertilizers which strip the soil of minerals that are necessary for a nutrient rich harvest.

The use of synthetic chemicals results in produce that taste bland when eaten plantain and corn are two examples that come to mind, similarly fruits: pineapples, oranges taste (artificial sugar) sweet indicating modified seeds and it is for reasons such as this that I submit that growing some of ones food is an option to consider.

I state unequivocally that there is distinct difference in taste and flavor from vegetables harvested from my pots in my yard in comparison to the ones I buy in the open market but in all I did sooner eat those from the local markets than anything that comes from a foreign land or manufactured foods.

To wrap up this article

Be safe, choose your food wisely and

Be well.


Egbe is an unrepentant herb user, a health enthusiast and an avid reader who loves to share her commonsense approach to nutrition.

About the author

egbe adeta

Egbe is an unrepentant herb user, a health enthusiast and an avid reader who loves to share her commonsense approach to nutrition.

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