Nigerian coy partners USAID on animal feeds production
Mr Kola Adeniji, the Managing Director of Niji Group, says his company is collaborating with USAID to process and produce animal feeds from cassava peels in the country.
Niji Group is a conglomerate that engages in sales and fabrication of farm equipment, farming, agro-allied services and food processing, while United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is the U.S. government agency that is primarily responsible for administering civilian foreign aid.
Adeniji disclosed on Tuesday that the partnership would help to reduce the over-dependence on cassava for animal feeds and guarantee sufficient production of the crop for human consumption.
He said that the company was also collaborating with All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) to set up three processing centres to facilitate the processing of cassava peels into both poultry and animal feeds.
According to him, a farm, owned by Niji Group, generates between 20, 000 and 25,000 tonnes of cassava wastes which can be processed into feeds.
“We are working with the USAID to make use of cassava peels to produce animal feeds.
“We setting up three processing centres for the project known as `waste to wealth, feed the future’.
“We want to use most of the wastes from cassava to produce animal feeds, so that animals will not be competing directly with us in respect of some of the staple food we eat.
“Instead of using a whole cassava tuber to produce animal feeds, we are just going to use only the peels to make feeds both for poultry and other animals.
“We want to work with some farmers to see how we can support them with the practice we are using; they can use it to generate jobs for the youth,’’ he said.
Adeniji said that the company had established an agricultural training school to educate youths on the best practices for sustainable agriculture in the country.
He said that that the company’s farm was currently cultivating 4,000 hectares of cassava, adding that plans were underway to increase its cassava cultivation this year with additional 4,000 hectares.
“We can make billions of dollars from cassava derivatives like starch, flour, `garri’ and `fufu’ but if Nigeria is not serious, other African countries like Ghana, Tanzania, Angola and Cameroon will take over,’’ he said.
On the high cost of cassava and its derivatives, Adeniji appealed to farmers to desist from fixing arbitrary prices for cassava.
He noted that although farmers needed government support to reduce their cost of production, the current increase in the prices of cassava derivatives was discouraging high patronage, particularly by exporters.
“We need to work seriously on the issue of pricing, people are putting arbitrary prices on cassava because of the current value of the U.S. dollar and this is discouraging high patronage.
“This is supposed to be a sustainable business; we need to work on it so as to know what our real cost of production,’’ he said.
On cassava chips production, Adeniji said that it was the best way of reducing the post-harvest losses and the transportation costs of ferrying cassava from one place to another.