Cassava has caused it to lose over N19.5 billion every year

The Federal Government’s non-implementation of policy on cassava has caused it to lose over N19.5 billion every year. In the year the policy was implemented it reduced the importation of wheat by 300,000 metric tons, thereby saving scarce foreign exchange.

These are the assertions of Ayo Olubori, president, Nigerian Cassava Processors and Marketers Associations (NICAPMA).

During Obasanjo’s administration, the government introduced a policy that mandated flour millers to combine 10 percent locally produced cassava flour with 90 percent flour produced from imported wheat. When the policy was first implemented, wheat importation reduced by 300,000 metric tons, amounting to N19.5 billion in the first year.

According to Olubori, even at full implementation of the policy, wheat importation would further reduce creating demand for 1.2 million metric tons of cassava per annum. He said that meant that across 300 working days, about 4,000 metric tons of cassava would be demanded per day. With a metric ton of cassava going for N18, 000, it meant that cassava farmers supplying processors that will in turn supply flour millers would be selling N72 million worth of cassava per day.

According to him, “Prior to the presidential initiative on cassava, we had less than five cassava processing small and medium enterprises in the whole country, but that policy gave birth to 120 cassava processing SMEs within one and half years of its implementation. It was a laudable programme aimed at generating about six million jobs in the country.”

On her part, Eno Akpabio, president of women in agribusiness under the Nigerian Employers Consultative Association (NECA), noted that almost all those firms that were established had collapsed and their promoters now in debt and bankrupt.

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