The African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) has cautioned that until the government found a solution to the value chain of cassava and other agricultural produce, the agricultural sector would not develop.
AATF’s Communication and Partnership Officer for West Africa, Mr. Abu Umar, raised the alarm while speaking at the recent stakeholders meeting on cassava in Abeokuta, Ogun State.
He lamented that Nigeria’s cassava had no value at the international market.
“Nigeria is doing well. The truth is, around the world, Nigeria is the highest grower of cassava and the only challenge is that in terms of value, we are zero. We don’t bring much value on the international market.”
Umar lamented that Nigeria had not reached her full potential in cassava production because production had not been done with modern equipment.
He identified lack of arable land, modern equipment, farmers’ linkage and good road network to transfer their goods as some of the challenges facing cassava farmers in the country.
Ogun State Deputy Governor, Mrs. Yetunde Onanuga, described cassava as the new gold and the catalyst for the nation’s agricultural revival.
“Cassava, as we all know, is a farm produce that has various end products that can lead Nigeria and Africa out of our present economic quagmire,” she said.
Represented at the event by the Permanent Secretary of the state’s Ministry of Rural Development, Rev. Olugbenle Olugbebi, the Deputy Governor said the state had given cassava priority in its agricultural policies and programmes.
The stakeholders meeting was organised by the Ogun state Ministry of Rural Development, in collaboration with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), an international financial institution and a specialised agency of the United Nations dedicated to eradicating poverty and hunger in rural areas of developing countries, and the Federal Government of Nigeria, under AATF’s Cassava Mechanisation and Agro-processing Project (CAMAP).