By Felicia Imohimi
The Nigerian Cassava Growers Association (NCGA) has urged State governments to prioritise cassava production by providing processing plant and machines to boost national economy.
Mr Segun Adewumi, the National President of the association, made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Abuja.
He said the availability of either the processing plant or machines would assist farmers to process cassava to its final production stage and ultimately help the country realise its inherent enormous potential.
Adewumi, who specifically noted that the nation had more than enough cassava farmlands, however, decried the absence of state of the art machines to process and derive other finished products from the commodity.
He said that such government’s assistance would eliminate post- harvest losses currently bedeviling farmers in the country.
According to him, cassava generates more income than oil if its potential are fully harnessed; the challenge is lack of government’s attention with regard to providing farmers with processing machines for improved and well packaged finished products.
He said some of the by-products or final products of cassava outside gari are starch, tapioca, ethanol, flour for different purposes among others.
NCGA’s president further identified cassava as the greatest industrial materials that provided companies with five major utility industrial products.
“One of them is ethanol and ethanol can trigger industrial revolution because you can get more than 100 products from it,” he said.
Adewumi said that some of cassava products could be used by pharmaceutical companies and multi-national companies.
“Nigeria is the highest producer of cassava; so we should be able to promote it to realise its full potential.
“So, if the government can create an enabling environment that will allow people to bring in and install machines that will mill our cassava into this products, our association will be able to contribute maximally to the economy.
“Government should pay attention to processing plant by collaborating with non-government organisations, financial institutions among others to ease and lessen the burden of farmers’ post-harvest losses,” he said.