‘Nigeria can save N800bn from cassava production’
The National President of the Nigeria Cassava Growers Association (NCGA), Segun Adewumi, said in an interview in Abuja that the country can save over N800 billion foreign exchange, hitherto used for ethanol importation, by exploiting the potential of cassava.
He said although ethanol was currently produced locally, 97 per cent of the commodity in the country was still imported.
He said that cassava had a huge potential, adding that the crop could processed into industrial starch, sweetener and ethanol syrup, among other derivatives.
“Cassava has more derivatives than yam, if it is given adequate attention. For ethanol, we import it into the country at the tune of almost N800 billion annually.
“Ninety-seven per cent of ethanol we use in Nigeria are imported but we can produce it locally from cassava.
“If we can channel what we spend on ethanol imports to cassava production, it can fetch us over N15 trillion as revenue if we use our arable land very well,” he added.
On the cassava bread policy of the Federal Government, Adewumi urged the government to revive the initiative to encourage cassava farmers.
He expressed regret over the neglect of the crop and its growers over the years.
“The government is still trying to revive the initiative but it has not come up with a clear-cut formula on how to do that.
“What we want the government to do is to provide the enabling environment so that cassava can replace oil and generate more revenue for the country,’’ he explained.
Adewumi, however, attributed the high cost of garri and other cassava derivatives across the country to the recent cassava glut of cassava during the implementation of the government’s cassava bread policy.
“About four or five years back, there was a glut in cassava production,” he added.