The DG/CEO, Feed Nigeria Summit (FNS), and Focal Person, Nigeria Agriculture Growth Scheme (NAGS), Mr. Richard-Mark Mbaram has highlighted the untapped potential in cassava saying that Nigeria’s status as a major producer of cassava places the crop at the center of the country’s agricultural landscape.
Mr. Mbaram while disclosing this at a press briefing for the Feed Nigeria Summit DealRoom Clinic stated that cassava which is a dominant staple food consumed by virtually every household in the nation either directly or indirectly, has the potential to drive economic growth.
However, he noted that the sector is currently plagued by significant pre-harvest challenges and postharvest losses, which collectively account for a 40-50% reduction in available volumes. He stressed that these losses represent a missed opportunity for profound livelihood and economic value addition.
To address this, he underscored the need to fully industrialize the cassava sub-sector.
“This industrialization should encompass not only primary production but processing and industrial off-take; so focus should be on the secondary and tertiary aspects of the value chain”. This, according to the FNS DG, will lead to the transformation of cassava into a myriad of products including starch, glucose, flour, and a host of others. “This will reduce waste and increase economic gains.”
Speaking further, he highlighted the surprising connection between cassava and the oil sector. “Cassava’s versatility and potential to produce biofuels has the propensity to improve the energy transition realities and even fetch Nigeria carbon credits.”
Another compelling point made by Mbaram is the potential to enhance the standard of living in rural communities through the expansion of the cassava value chain. In his words, “If we can stretch the value chain, we will be handing resources to the rural dwellers and improving their livelihood”. “Some states in Nigeria including Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Benue, Oyo and Ogun alongside a few others, are already positioning in that direction.
He concluded by stressing that exploiting the potentials of the Cassava crop, “Nigeria’s white gold” requires collaborative efforts and that the development of cassava-related industrial backbone is a tangible path to prosperity for the nation.