…Says Nigeria produces 20% of world Cassava
Iduozee Efe Paul
The executive director of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Dr. Olusegun Awolowo, says Nigeria is the highest producer of cassava, producing about 20 per cent of the total world production but national cassava production faces a lot of challenges that need to be addressed.
Dr. Awolowo who, is also the CEO of NEPC, made the disclosure at a one-day workshop on the implementation of the One-State One-Product (OSOP) Value Chain in strategic production of the zero oil cassava plan in Benin city.
Awolowo who was represented at the event by the trade promotion advisor, NEPC Export Assistance Office, Benin, MacPherson Lleogben, said Edo State has shown cassava and wood as its main and alternate products.
“…with over 59 million metric tons production, Nigeria is ranked as the largest producer of cassava, producing about 20 per cent of the total world production. The total estimated world production was put at over 291 plan million metric tons for 2017.
“Despite being the world’s largest producer of cassava, the industry is facing some challenges in Nigeria, such as climate change, low yields, quality issues, low processing, sharp practices, infrastructural deficiency and poor access to finance which has constrained export. It is vital to engage the value chain players from time to time to address these plights so that we can grow the export of the product in Nigeria.”
The advisor said NEPC designed a plan to help Nigeria make cassava a foreign exchange earner to boost the economy beyond oil.
“In 2015, NEPC developed a game changer document tagged ‘The Zero-Oil Plan’. The initiative was developed as a strategy for boosting foreign exchange earnings through the non-oil sector, preparing Nigeria for an economy that would not depend on a single drop of crude oil for survival.
“The Zero Oil Plan has set a long-term goal of earning 20 per cent of Nigeria’s GDP (US$100 billion) from non-oil exports. The initial target is to exceed US$30 billion in non-oil exports over the next 10 years. If properly implemented, the plan will lead to three primary results-add an extra US$150 m (minimum) to Nigeria’s foreign reserves cumulatively from non-oil exports over the next 10 years, create at least 500,000 additional jobs annually; due to an increase in productive and export activities, help to contribute to Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 8 on Decent Work and Economic Growth and, lift at least 20 million Nigerians out of poverty, contributing towards SDG 1 (No Poverty)”, he further explained.
Permanent Secretary, Edo State Ministry of Wealth Creation Cooperatives and Employment, Joel Edionwe who declared the event open, urged farmers at the occasion to look for modern ways to process their cassava products.
Edionwe added that Edo State produces the largest quantity of cassava in Nigeria and appealed to the farmers to develop a new format to help them produce larger quantities of the product.
Delivering his speech, the Edo State chairman of All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Chief Emmanuel Odugie, asked how farmers can benefit from the workshop so they can produce the much needed larger quantities of cassava.
He urged the farmers to listen to the various speakers so they can learn modern ways of cultivating good cassava products.
In his address of welcome, the trade promotion advisor, NEPC, Benin Export Assistance Office, MacPherson Fred Lleogben said, the workshop was aimed at building the capacity of farmers and processors across the cassava value chain.
Lleogben said it will further strengthen the non-oil exports performance of Edo State, “with cassava being the primary product identified in Edo State under the One State One Product idea of the Council.”