Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh, has said the country is aiming to make over $5 billion dollars annually from cassava production in the next few years. He said this on Thursday in Abuja at the National Cassava Summit with the theme: “Toward $5 billion per Annum Cassava in the next five years.’’
He said that the Federal Government would enhance and strengthen the Bank of Agriculture to allow farmers access to credit facilities at 5 to 6 per cent interest rate.
“Most of the Commercial Banks give loan to farmers at 28 to 30 per cent interest rate. How do farmers grow with such a high interest rate and make profit?”
“We have to intensify efforts to address this problem in order to meet our target because earning in cassava industry is so high.”
“Rural roads need to be rehabilitated for easy transportation of our farm products to the market. Our budget is small. We cannot in the Ministry level promise of constructing all rural roads. But something has to be done fast.”
He urged research institutes like the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture to include vitamins in cassava in the next research work to balance its nutritional content and better consumption.
Prof. Lateef Sani of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, in a paper, said that the industry has the potential to create million of jobs across the country through its Value Chain.
“By 2021, Nigeria cassava industry will represent over 5 billion dollars, spurs rural industrial development, generate millions of new jobs and create wealth for over 45 million people.”
“Cassava peels, grits, chips are viable as animal and fish feeds.”
“Given the large amount of Aquaculture and Livestock done in the country, this can be an interesting prospective market.”
Mr. Alfred Dixon of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture also speaking at the National Cassava Summit said Nigeria was confronted with a growing population and rising urbanization with high demand for food and feeds for livestock.
“Cassava is an appropriate commodity to feature in Nigeria’s economic development.”
“Nigeria’s cassava production accounts for 20 per cent of the total global output but less than 1 per cent is being exported.”