Vegan inspired agribusiness


Vegan inspired agribusiness ideas or plant-based inspired agribusiness ideas. In this post, we are looking at agribusiness opportunities which are availabe to people living in the diaspora in the vegan or plant-based market.

If you live outside the country and asking what type of business you can invest in back home. This article should be of interest to you.

Firstly, you might be wondering what is ‘vegan’ or ‘plant-based’. Although often used interchangeably, not everyone who eats a plant-based diet is a vegan because veganism is an ideology. That is, it has a principle of “the emancipation of animals from the exploitation by man”. However, in this article both are use interchangeably because of the focus on food.

What is vegan inspired agribusiness?

A vegan inspired agribusiness is a sustainable business that contributes to sustainable diets and food systems. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) “the sustainabilty of diets goes beyond nutrition and environment as to include economic and socio-cultural dimensions”.

Many people are embracing food practices and choices that address sustainability.

Many countries are issuing food-based dietary guidelines that incorporate sustainability.

Recommendations such as, having a mostly plant-based diet, focus on seasonal and local foods, reduction of food waste etc. Recently, Canada issued a dietary guideline that endorsed the plant-based diet.


Health benefits of vegan diets.

Although not the only recommendation, having a mostly plant-based diet is gaining popularity worldwide.

Many doctors, nutritionists and dieticians have endorsed the plant-based diet as a way to improve health and fight against diseases.

Doctors who are advocates of the plant-based diet include Dr Caldwell Esselstyn, Dr T Collin Campbell and Dr Mcdougall. They have provided clinical studies and practical evidences about the benefits of a plant-based diet.

It has been shown that the diet can help improve cardiovascular health, reverse diabetes in some cases and improve the quality of life.

As people are becoming more health conscious and are shifting away from animal protein. The demand for plant protein will increase.

Soybeans (soya beans) are complete protein that contain all nine essential amino acids that humans need. Likewise, they are used for making soy milk, an alternative to diary milk and Tofu – curds used as meat subsutitute in some dishes.

Peanuts are rich in protein, healthy oils and may improve overall heart health.

Other good sources of plant proteins are lentils, sesame seeds, almonds, chickpeas, hemp seeds, chia seeds, beans and rice etc.

Vegan inspired agribusiness opportunities.

In 2019, the retail market for plant-based food was valued at $4.5 billion. It experienced a 31% growth over the previous two years compared to 4% for the entire retail food market.

Also, in 2019 Europe consumed 40% of the world’s total plant-based alternative meats. Out of concern for health, food security and animal welfare.

This shows that there is a growing market for the vegan lifestyle and vegan agriculture as a result of an increasing awareness of the benefits of plant-based protein.

Therefore, if you are in the diaspora and looking for investment opportunities in vegan agriculture, you can read on.

Export crops from Nigeria

In the this section, we’ll explore some export crops data from Nigeria.

Groundnut (peanuts) export from Nigeria.

In 2018, China was the leading producer of groundnut with 17.3 million tonnes, followed by India at 6.7 million tonnes. Groundnut is also produced in sub-Saharan Africa, and central and southern America.

Top world groundnuts growers. Bar chart.
Source: FAO

Nigeria was the third producer in 2018 with 2.9 million tonnes.

Groundnut is produced in the northern and middle belt states with Kano being the largest producer.

Soybeans export from Nigeria

By 2013, Nigeria was the largest African producer, producing around 500,000 tonnes of Soybeans annually. Although the country is not part of the world’s top ten growers of soybeans, it is the second largest producer of the product on the African continent.

Presently, South Africa is the largest at 1.5 million tonnes while Nigeria is at 758,003 tonnes.

Top world soybeans growers. Table.
Source: FAO

There is a growing business interest in soya products in Nigeria. However, most interest tend to focus on processing for soya cooking oil or animal feed.

There is limited business investment in local production of value-added soya foods and a number of businesses import value-added soya, rather than producing it locally.

Sesame seeds export from Nigeria

Sesame seeds are mainly produced in Benue, Kogi, Nassarawa and Taraba state.

Other states where sesame seeds are produced include Niger, Jigawa, Kano, Bauch and Kwara State.

In 2018, Nigeria was the second largest producer of sesame seeds (also called benniseed) in Africa and the fourth largest producer in the world after Sudan, Myanmar and India.

Having lost the third position of the previous year with a production of 572,761 metric tonnes compared to the 580,000 metric tonnes of 2017.

Top world sesame growers. Bar chart.
Source FAO

PWC’s agric export report shows that the country earned 89 billion from sesame export in 2018.

This was more that twice the value of 2017 which was N41 billion. A massive increase compared to the N12.8 billion of 2013 from exporting about 1,700 metric tonnes to the EU and 22,000 metric tonnes to Japan.

According to The Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) market opportunity exists for the country’s sesame seeds in Korea, India, Middle East and the Mediterranean countries.

Vegan inspired agribusiness opportunities in Nigeria for diasporans.

In addition to the demand for these plants for the vegan diet. They are also sought after for other uses.

For example, sesame seed is one of the most sought after vegetable oil in the world.

It is also an industrial ingredient used for the production of margarine, canned sardine, corned beef, soap making and ink.

It is preferred to other vegetable oils because of its lack of odour, chemical composition, colour and taste.

For diasporans interested in investing in agribusiness, the opportunities abound. However, you need to also be aware of the challenges.

You need to be aware of the infrastructure and logistics challenges at the ports.

Lack of adequate modern storage facilities for agricultural produce.

Poor quality of agricultural products due to poor handling before and after harvest.

Lack of value-added processing which leads to significant loss in earnings through export.

However, these challenges are also areas where the opportunities to innovate exist.


If you are in the diaspora and interested in vegan agribusiness, there is a growing vegan or plant-based agriculture market that you can target.

This is also a good opportunity for investment. Especially if you are from one of the producing states.

You may want to contact home and find out about how you can get involved.

In addition, if you have family farms back home that you have abandoned. This might be the time to start growing these economic seeds.

Besides, you will be supporting those back home. Your investments will be mutually beneficial to you and to others.

In addition, you’ll be making a positive contribution towards agriculture. Towards the shift to more sustainable diets and food systems.

If you need further information please contact us. Otherwise you can make formal enquiries through the Nigerian Export Promotion Council

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