Entrepreneur and farmer Kofoworola Durosimi-Etti works in her greenhouse farm in Ikorodu on the outskirt of Lagos

A Nigerian start-up is developing the first agricultural commodities exchange in Africa’s most populous country to take advantage of the government’s efforts to boost farming output to reduce reliance on oil. 

The exchange, Integrated Produce City, will be located near the southern city of Benin, about 300km east of Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial hub, a site accessible to nearby growers of cocoa, palm oil, rubber and cassava, chief executive Pat Utomi said. 

“The concept of a wholesale-produce market is to enable the farmer to fully dispose of his produce, instead of today where he loses 80percent of his output” that rots before it can reach the market, Utomi said on Friday in the capital, Abuja. Nigeria is boosting investment in agriculture to increase exports and cut food imports that cost it $3.2bn (R42.15bn) in 2015.