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Dr Alfred Dixon, the Head, Cassava Weed Management Project, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan, has called on Nigeria to focus more on high quality cassava flour production.

Dixon gave the advice in a forum with news men in Ibadan.

He said cassava flour could generate enough income for the country as the price of crude oil continued to fall in the international market, stressing that “this is the
right time for Nigeria to diversify its economy to agriculture.

“Cassava is one of the crops that should be considered because Nigeria is a global leader in its production; the country needs to increase its production.”

The IITA official also advised the Federal Government to concentrate on starch production “because of its added value and its high demand for both native and modified starch in Nigeria.’’

Dixon said for the country to improve cassava flour export, it should work on the value chain.

He added that “to work along the value chain from production to market, one has to consider productivity and adding values.

“To add value to a product that is desired in the market, one has to be competitive and being competitive means that one has to lower the cost of production.

“Lowering the production cost will ensure that the product sells at a price where one can take care of the production cost and also have good profit.”

He said the cost of cassava production was currently high in Nigeria.

He noted that “there were plans to export cassava chips to China but it was realised that the cost of production was higher than the price Chinese offered for the chips.

“But with training and improved agronomic practices now, our farmers can get at least 25 to 30 tonnes per hectare and add value during processing and I think we can now export cassava.” (NAN)

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