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              Pastor Segun Adewumi
                  National President
   Nigeria Cassava Growers Association 

Cassava can inject 10 trillion Naira yearly into the economy, guarantee employment for millions of farmers, skilled and unskilled labour, guarantee food security and generate electricity for its factories and neighboring communities.

Cassava is that wonderful crop that can be cultivated in all parts of Nigeria. It has high level of resistance to harsh weather; it grows with rain and survives with dews.

Over 20 local food types are derived from Cassava. These include Lafun, Fufu, Tapioka, Starch, Pupuru, Gari and others. Gari is the most popular Cassava local food products. Gari is an instant food that can be eaten dry as it is and can be soaked into water and eaten.

The most common food use of gari is when it is made into eba and eaten with soup in morsels. It could be made inviting and coloured into yellow; it has a compelling aroma that creates appetite even when the eater is full. Gari can be preserved and will remain fresh for over four years.

If Gari had been discovered in the West, it could have been a world class food competing with Rice and Bread.

Cassava has some major Industrial Products among which are Ethanol, Industrial Starch, Cassava Flour, Glucose Syrup, Sweetener etc.

These products are also raw materials to numerous Industrial items with limitless domestic and export market potentials.

This means Cassava can trigger massive Industrial Revolution in Nigeria to the extent that every Nigerian Village will have viable Cassava Industries.

EXAMPLE OF CASSAVA INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTS

ETHANOL

USES OF ETHANOL
Industrial Solvent: – In paints, printing inks, wood finishers, pharmaceutics etc.

Beverages:- In making whisky, brandy, dry gin, wine, beer etc.

Fuel:- As in hybrid petrol, smokeless fuel, cooking fuel etc.

Cleaning: – As in industrial cleaning of stainless equipment and tools where fast drying is needed without removing the paints on the machines.

Pharmaceuticals: – Many OTC drugs such as cough syrups, methylated spirits, gently violet etc contain lots of ethanol or other related alcohols.

Cosmetics: – Rubbing alcohol, nail paints, conditioners, styling gels, aftershave lotions etc contain ethanol or its equivalents.

Paints: – Most industrial paints and wood coatings contain alcohol, many of them ethanol.

Printing Inks: – Most flex and gravure inks are produced using alcohols. Ethanol can be used in many of them.

SOME OF THE COMPANIES THAT USE ETHANOL IN NIGERIA
i. SKG-Pharma Ltd
ii. Emzor Pharmaceuticals Industries Ltd
iii. Daily Needs Industries Ltd
iv. Drugfield Pharmaceuticals Ltd
v. Neimeth International Pharma Plc
vi. Vitabiotics Nig. Ltd
vii. Nestle Nig. Plc
viii. Pharma–Deko Nig. Plc
ix. PZ Industries Plc.
x. Unilever.
xi. Mopson Pharmaceuticals Ltd.
xii. New Heathway Co. Ltd.
xiii. Therapeutic Laboratories Ltd.
xiv. Guinness Nig. Plc.
xv. Nigerian Breweries Plc.
xvi. UAC Nig. Plc.
Among many others

INDUSTRIAL STARCH

i. Industrial Starch is used in the Gum/adhesives
ii. Textiles
iii. Pharmaceuticals,
iv. Book binding,
v. Paper and packaging,
vi. Confectionery,
vii. Chemical
viii. Household Products
ix. Batteries,
x. Drinks and Beverages,
xi. Baby foods
xii. Wood finishers etc

It might interest you to know that Nigeria imports over 95% of the Industrial starch used in the country.

Cassava Flour and Sweeteners

Cassava Flour is in high demand in several African Countries. Now world renowned Companies such as Cargil, Coca Cola and other beverage companies are anxious to invest in Sweeteners.

Cassava has the answer to the economic problems of Nigeria. For example, from the over 84 million hectares arable land available in Nigeria, if 5million Hectares is devoted to the production of Industrial Cassava and we are able to harvest 40 MT of Cassava from an hectare of farmland, it implies that we shall have 200 million MT per year.

The above 200 million MT of raw Cassava can be milled into 50 million MT of Industrial Starch. At present, Industrial Starch sells for over N200,000 per ton which means we can generate 10 trillion Naira yearly from Cassava.

Market of Ethanol in food grade and Biofuel is limitless.

Nigeria imports over 97% of her Ethanol.

With the low starch content of our cassava (which can be doubled), we are presently able to obtain 166 litres of Ethanol from a ton of cassava. 200 million MT of cassava will therefore give us 33,200,000,000 litres of Ethanol.

Ethanol is sold at about N300 per litre and that means 9.9 trillion Naira. If starch content is doubled, we shall have almost double the Ethanol value and double the income.

Furthermore, we have three bye products of great commercial value when we turn cassava into Ethanol.

These include Acetaldehyde, Carbon-dioxide and Animal Feeds.

We can assume that the three bye products will generate an additional 3 trillion Naira and that brings yearly earnings on Ethanol to 13 trillion Naira.

BALANCE OF TRADE WITH CHINA

China has great market potential for Nigeria Cassava. As against her preference for cassava chips, which is nothing but dewatered cassava reminiscent of crude oil which Nigeria exports only to buy it back as refined oil as if Nigeria is bedeviled by slave mentality.

We should at this time ensure that complete value is added to the cassava to make Ethanol, Industrial Starch etc right here in Nigeria. This will also guarantee that the Job opportunities in Cassava Processing are not exported with the chips.

Our cassava trade with China can fetch us over 5 trillion Naira yearly and that is enough to fully employ millions of Nigerian Job seekers as skilled and unskilled labour.

THE TWO CASSAVA PROGRAMMES.

However, for Cassava prosperity to happen there has to be two cassava programmes as follows:

i. Cassava for Food Security

ii. Cassava for Industrial Use

CASSAVA FOR FOOD SECURITY
The cassava that we cultivate now across Nigeria cannot be used for Industrial purpose if we consider the yield per hectare, the Starch content, transportation cost to the mill after harvesting, among other constraints.

Cassava Industrial Processing mills that will use 400MT of Cassava daily cannot depend on the Smallholder peasant farmers’ cassava, for Adequate, Regular, Affordable and All the year round supply of her cassava.

At the same time Smallholder farmers should be encouraged to continue to produce for food security. Right now the challenge of the Smallholder farmer is market for his products.

Over 300,000MT of overripe cassava are buried in the soil because there is no market for them and where the market exists, the cost of harvesting and delivery surpasses the value of the cassava.

There is usually a three yearly glut and scarcity cycle in cassava. The farmer abstains from cassava cultivation in the year of glut and that creates scarcity in the year that follows.

Solution to this is Guaranteed Market for the cassava product.

CASSAVA FOR INDUSTRIAL USE
There are many Cassava Processing Industries in Nigeria that have collapsed because of lack of Adequate, Regular, affordable and all the year round supply of cassava.

Cassava for Industrial use has to be adequately and regularly supplied to avoid wastage of machine hours.

It has to be affordable for the product of the plant to compete favorably in the domestic and International markets. Supply has to be sustained all the year round.

The above can only happen when there is a contiguous farm dedicated to the Processing Factory.

For example:- NCGA has acquired 10,000Ha of arable farm in Ipao Ekiti for her Ethanol Programme. The farm will be cleared, demarcated into blocks of ten hectares each and allocated to youth farmers who will cultivate under the supervision of the World Experts in Cassava Production.

Planting will be done in accordance to the time table of usage of cassava by the factory to guarantee all the year round supply. Factory will be located in the vicinity of the farm to eliminate transport cost of cassava to a distant factory.

Researches across the World have started to use micronutrients to upscale cassava yield to 100MT per hectare as against the miserable 10-20Mt that we get in Nigeria. At the same time starch content of cassava has been upscaled to 38% in India and 40% in Malaysia.

These are innovations that we must keep track of and use to meet the World standard in Industrial Cassava. The implication is that while it may cost Nigerian farmer between N12,000 to N20,000 to produce a ton of Cassava, farmers in other countries produce at less than N5,000 per Ha.
Moreover the value of Cassava is determined by its Starch content which is to say that cassava of Nigerian farmers that cost him N20,000 per ton to produce has less than half the value of what is produced outside Nigeria for N5,000 per ton.

The above has been considered in our plan to have a world class technology in our Cassava production.

ELECTRICITY GENERATION

It may interest you to know that most Cassava Processing Industries especially in Brazil generate electricity for themselves and their immediate neighboring communities.

This is to say that Cassava Industrial Revolution can also solve our challenges in Electricity.

HIGH QUALITY CASSAVA FLOUR (HQCF)
As we are aware, the HQCF programme was expected to be financed from the 15% increase in the import duty of white wheat flour.

It is expected that a substantial amount in billions of Naira must have accrued into the fund. If part of this amount is used to establish a 500,000ha modern cassava farm that can deliver 40MT per Hectare we would have had 20 million MT of Cassava Roots for HQCF Programme.
At the ratio of 4 Mt of fresh cassava to 1Mt of Cassava Flour, 20 million MT of cassava will provide 5 Million MT of HQCF.

We actually need 1600MT of HQCF for 10% inclusion daily, 3200MT for 20% and 6400 for 40% inclusion.

The implication of the above is that only half of the fund generated from the 15% extra import charges on white Wheat in the past four years is enough to provide 5 million MT of HQCF yearly.

The volume of HQCF required to add 40% is only 2,336,000MT.
We can as well export the excess which is 2,664,000MT to the neighboring Countries.

The fund also has the capacity to finance enough Processing Factories that will Mill the Cassava to HQCF.

What the above means is that if the plan of those that initiated the programme had worked, we would have been able to achieve 40% inclusion of Cassava flour in bread and exported the excess 60% to the neighboring African countries. But unfortunately, we have not met even 1% inclusion as at today Perhaps there is that need to analyze the income generated so far as follows; 15% of 650billion Naira for four years is about 390 billion. All that we need to achieve 40% HQCF inclusion and 60% HQCF export as stated in the above analysis is less than 200 billion Naira of the 390 billion Naira believed to have been generated from the fund.
If the cassava development program is driven by an Agency, Board or Commission with majority of its membership drawn from the Private Sector, the result would definitely have been different.

In consideration of the fact that Cassava can solve the problem of food security in Nigeria, trigger Industrial Revolution, improve electricity and provide more revenue than the fossil oil ever provided, NCGA suggest establishment of CASSAVA DEVELOPMENT BOARD, COMMISSION or COMMITTEE with majority of its members drawn from the private sector to drive and manage the Nigeria Cassava Project.

NCGA desire the setting up of Gari Processing Units, with a special fund so that Gari can be used to mop up Cassava roots estimated at over 300, 000 MT capable of producing 50,000 MT of Gari.

Gari will be supplied to the IDPs, School Children Programme and also preserved in the various Silos. We cannot continue to sustain other people economy by buying their Rice to the detriment of our farmers whose cassava are wasting away.

NCGA request that the Association is granted the mandate and authority to collaborate with NAFDAC, Federal Strategic Grain and Food Reserve and Rural Development department of FMARD to sanitize and standardize Gari production throughout Nigeria to ensure that Gari is produced and preserved in hygienic condition that will prevent the menace of Rats, Rodents etc.

The Association urges government and it’s relevant agencies to embark on Land development of 1 million hectares of land per year to cultivate Cassava for Industrial use. This will be demarcated into blocks and allocated to young graduate farmers who will cultivate Cassava under the supervision of world experts.

Investors should be encouraged to set up factories for Processing Cassava into Ethanol, Starch, Glucose Syrup, Sweetener and Cassava Flour right on the various farms.

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