In a renewed effort aimed at re-positioning the cassava industry to play a vital role in the diversification of the economy, stakeholders in the sub-sector have unfolded strategies that will grow the industry to $5 billion worth by 2021.
Speaking at the National Cassava Summit held yesterday in Abuja with the theme: “Towards a $5 billion per annum industry over the next 5 years”, the Program Director of Foundation for Partnership Initiatives in the Niger Delta (PIND) Dara Akala said the plan was that by 2021, Nigerian Cassava sector in terms of investment and volume of trade would be worth $5 billion.
Akala noted that there have been several government policies on cassava that were yet to translate to action, adding that the aim of the program was to translate the policies and potential in the subsector into real gain for the producers, processors and the country at large.
Also speaking, an expert from the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Professor Lateef Sanni in a presentation of a Road Map for Achieving a $5bilion Cassava Industry in Nigeria said the vision of the program was to ensure that by 2021 the industry represent over $5billion, spur rural industrial development, generate millions of new jobs, create wealth for over 45million people and contribute to national food security.
Reeling out the potentials in the sector, Saani said the “annual demand for industrial starch is about 269,000 million tons, unfortunately the current supply is about 20,000, for Ethanol the demand is 200 million litres per annum while supply is just 9 million litres. The demand for High Quality Cassava Flour is 504,500 tons, but supply is 60,000 tons per annum, the demand for glucose syrup is 90,000 tons but the current supply is 30,000tons”.
He said if the potential of the industry are well harnessed, 16 million jobs can be created from cassava production, 10million jobs from industrial Cassava processing, 5 million jobs from sales and marketing, 5 million jobs from modern cottage processing, haulage and transportation can provide 9 million jobs and cassava farmers could get 74 percent income increase for their produce.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh while declaring the summit open expressed his delight about the programme saying, “this is the change we promised Nigerians”.
He said the country has made mistakes in the last 30 years for ignoring agriculture, adding that every industry in the agricultural sector that has potential for foreign exchange will be developed.
He stressed the need to intensify cassava production through mechanization, providing improve yield to increase yield per hectare from 15tonne to 30ton, increasing access to finance at 5 percent interest rate.
Among the stakeholders partnering in the project are German International Corporation (GIZ), PIND, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Nigerian Institute of Food Science and Technology, Federal Institute for Industrial Research Oshodi (FIRO), United States Agency for International Development’s Maximizing Agricultural Revenue and Key Enterprises in Targeted Sites (MARKETS II) project.
Others include International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Department for International Development (DFID), Market Development (MADE) Program and Cassava Adding Value in Africa (CAVA II), HarvestPlus, Nigeria Cassava Growers Association (NCGA), Nigeria Cassava Processors and Marketers Association (NCAPMA) and the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF).