CENTRAL Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has announced measures to resuscitate cassava production in the country.
CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, announced the measures in Abuja while speaking at a meeting with State Governors of Cassava Producing States and the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between Cassava Growers Association and Large Scale Cassava Processors.
Emefiele said the apex bank’s intervention is aimed at addressing the challenges bedeviling the cassava industry in spite of huge investment and government initiatives in the past. Stressing that the intervention is based on the complete value chain approach, Emefiele said: “This will involve support to the Nigeria Cassava Growers Association at the production level under the ‘Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) and support to Large Scale Cassava Processors under the CACS and DCRR programmes.
In addition to the above measures, Emefiele said that CBN is also holding consultations with the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan and the National Root Crops Research Institute, Umudike, with the aim of encouraging adoption of improved varieties and practices that would guarantee better yield, better processing efficiency, increased profit and improved standard of living for our farmers.
He said: “We place a high premium on cassava because the commodity can generally be used for different uses along the value 11 chain. The value chain has enormous potential for employing over two million people in Nigeria if well harnessed, due to the diverse secondary products that it offers.
Some of the products include highlighting the potentials of the industry. Emefiele said: “Increasing cassava production is a necessity as starch, glucose, sorbitol and other products currently being imported proffers no future for the nation in the long-term, in view of the fact that Nigeria imports cassava derivatives valued at over $600m annually.
“Permit me to share with you the gap and potential demand that exists in our cassava value chain: Demand for High Quality Cassava Flour (HQCF) in bread, biscuits and snacks is above 500,000t annually while supply is below 15,000t; demand for cassava starch is above 300,000t annually while supply is below 10,000t; demand for cassava-based constituents in sugar syrup is above 350,000t annually while supply is almost nonexistent; potential demand for ethanol in Nigeria as a fuel for cooking, to power vehicles (E10), and other industrial uses exceeds one billion litres, while production is nearly zero.” To reverse this trend, Emefiele said the CBN is seeking a blueprint that would facilitate the production of cassava in the country.