The National President, Nigeria Cassava Growers Association, Pastor Segun Adewumi, has said with the right government policy, the country can make an annual income of N20tn from cassava cultivation.
According to him, cassava, which has numerous domestic and industrial uses, is the answer to the country’s economic challenges.
To, however, gain from the potential of cassava as an income earner, Adewumi said the government must take the first step of dedicating five million hectares of the existing 84 million hectares of arable land in Nigeria to cassava farming.
He said this in a statement signed on his behalf by Mr. Femi Ajayi of the association on Sunday.
Adewumi said, “Cassava provides over 20 domestic food types for Nigerians and that includes garri, fufu, lafun, starch, tapiocal, pupuru etc. At the same time, it has five major industrial products namely, ethanol, industrial starch, cassava flour, glucose syrup and sweetener. Incidentally, cassava is also a raw material for numerous utility items with limitless domestic and export market potential. Cassava can trigger massive industrial revolution that will earn Nigeria over N20tn yearly. Cassava is actually the answer to the economic woes of Nigeria.”
He explained that with five million hectares of land, 200 metric tonnes of cassava could be produced.
“Using industrial starch as an example, 200 million metric tonnes of cassava will produce 50 million metric tonnes of starch. Fifty million metric tonnes of starch at N350,000 per tonne will generate N17.5tn,” Adewumi explained.
He said the NCGA had already submitted a paper to the Federal Government detailing the opportunities in cassava production, adding that government had pledged to study the paper.
He,however, lamented that non-acceptance of arable land as collateral by Nigerian banks had continued to limit farmers’ opportunity of accessing loans and discouraging foreign investments.
He said, “On account of the failure of Nigerian banks to accept agricultural land as collateral security for loan, many investors have relocated to other countries like Ghana.
“Recently, an American investor who intended to install 100,000-litre ethanol plant for cassava growers relocated to Ghana because the land, which the farmers had spent hundreds of millions to acquire, could not form part of the collateral for bank guarantee that was required for a foreign loan.”