Garlic is second most widely used amongst cultivated Alliums after onion. Its pungent smell could be very unpleasant when perceived fresh but when added to meals gives the meal a delightful fragrance.
Garlic is widely recognized today as a health enhancing supplement.
Garlic is grown commercially in FADAMA regions which includes Northern states like Kano, Kaduna, Kebbi, Sokoto, Jigawa, Bauchi, Katsina and Zamfara States. Its production is mainly around the savannah ecological zone where all factors of production are favourable.
The national production figure for garlic is 150, 000 metric tonnes. Sokoto State produces the highest quantity.
Garlic is planted under irrigation during dry season between the months of November to March
Garlic is a common flavoring used in cooking. It serves as a food additive which prevents food poisoning.
It is used as a raw material in pharmaceutical industries. It is also used to produce supplements which have enteric coatings.
The local price of garlic ranges from about N170,000 to N210,000/MT, depending on the location of purchase and the period during its season.
The United States is the world’s largest import market for fresh garlic, followed closely by Indonesia, France, Germany, Australia and Brazil.
Garlic bulbs are harvested at optimum maturity period when the plants are eighteen (18) weeks old that is, four to five weeks after planting.
Garlic bulbs are stored individually with the tops removed. The bulbs are stored in an uncovered or loosely covered container in a cool, dry, dark place. The flavor will increase as the bulbs are dried.
Garlic can be stored in jute sacks, preferably in a mud house with thatched roof.
The processing operations of Garlic particularly includes; Garlic grading, bulb breaking, clove separation, size reduction, peeling, clove flaking, dehydration, blending, packaging, storage, grinding etc.
It’s processing requires special skill and care, because it’s essential volatile oil is concentrated in epidermal cell, which is mainly responsible for its characteristic aroma.
The following products may be prepared from the processing of Garlic:
a. Garlic Flex
b. Garlic Powder
c. Garlic Tablet
d. Garlic Paste
e. Garlic Pickles
f. Garlic cloves
g. Garlic Digestive Churn etc.
The market for the Nigerian garlic is widely spread and is the bulk of households, restaurants, eateries, caterers, and clubs use it regularly. The demand for the processed products is increasing day by day due to its convenience to handle and use. There are good export prospects as well.