Coy targets production of 300m tonnes of cassava chips in Nigeria

A commodity exchange firm, AFEX Commodities Exchange Limited, says it is targeting the production of 300 million tonnes of cassava chips per annum in Nigeria.

Mr Ayodeji Balogun, the Country Manager, stated this in a communique issued at the end of a one-day business meeting organised in partnership with Agribusiness Supplier Development Programme (ASDP) in Ibadan.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that AFEX is a commodity exchange firm, renowned in connecting small holder farmers to financial and commodity markets.

NAN also reports that the meeting with the theme: ‘‘Inclusive business acceleration for cassava value chain in Nigeria,’’ brought together over 50 farmers and other stakeholders in agriculture across Nigeria.

Balogun said that cassava chips could replace a good proportion of cereals used in the composition of poultry and livestock feeds.

‘‘Our current target on cassava chips production for Nigeria was in the range of 300 million tonnes per annum,’’ he said.

He commended the progress recorded by Nigeria in the direction of making cassava truly an industrial crop with the establishment of major starch, ethanol and flour factories across the nation.

‘‘A lot more still needs to be done to ensure that the extra productions are fully utilised.

‘‘The goal of the collaboration is to jointly work together in bringing an all inclusive business acceleration for cassava value chain in Nigeria.

‘‘Our company has the market reach and contact, as a major private sector concern in commodity marketing in Nigeria and beyond,’’ he said.

Balogun stated that the company saw cassava as a strategic crop and value chain with immense potential for inclusive growth, job creation and poverty eradication in the country.

He said that the ASDP project was coming up with specialised approach to commodities value chains development.

‘‘It is our hope that accelerating the growth of the cassava value chain will help extend the benefits of cassava industrialisation to as many sectors as possible in Nigeria.

‘‘A case in point is the poultry and livestock sector. Cassava chips can replace good proportion of cereals used in the composition of poultry and livestock feeds.

‘‘Work on this has gone beyond experimentation, as we now have well established standards for the inclusion of cassava chips or peels in animal feeds,’’ he said.

Mr Auwal Maidabino, the Director, Planning and Policy Coordination, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said government believed that cassava was strategic for food security and foreign exchange earnings.

Maidabino said that the Federal Government in its efforts at attaining the objective has put in place institutional framework to promote agribusiness and investment, while also working with key stakeholders in the sector.

‘‘ASDP is focusing on production of cassava chips because of Nigeria’s insignificant market share of the dry chips global trade.

‘‘In 2012, Nigeria secured orders from China for dry chips totaling 2.2 million tonnes and the first shipment to China of Nigeria’s dry chips took place in August that year.

‘‘Efforts are now under way to link cassava farmers and processors to the export trade on chips.

‘‘There is need to urgently improve cassava chips production and supply chain system to meet demands from other countries,’’ he stated.

NAN reports that participants at the meeting voiced their views and opinions about the development of cassava value chain in Nigeria.

Participants were tutored on the need to expand and accelerate other cassava derivatives, idea of the cassava chips markets and how to process cassava chips.

Other areas touched were making cassava chips processing profitable, likewise identifying and pairing willing mentor and protégé.


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