Agriculture Minister Advocates Cassava Content Law

Aug 22, 2011 – The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi  Adesina, has advocated for a shift from cassava policy to a law that would compel the usage of 40 per cent cassava content and 60 per cent wheat flour in confectioneries.

Adesina was inspecting the Taraba State-owned Cassava Processing Plant. At present Nigeria, the world’s largest cassava producer with about 45 million tonnes annually, imports N635 billion worth of wheat yearly.

Decrying the situation, the minister stressed the need to give adequate attention to cassava production, noting that the produce is in high demand globally, as it is used in the manufacture of glucose, ethanol, starch and animal feeds, among others.

Adesina said that the ministry would soon set up a Cassava Marketing and Trade Development Corporation to harmonise the production and sale of cassava and help derived maximum benefit from the cassava crop.

He noted that the corporation has become vital because more than 70 per cent of the produce was not adequately utilised, adding that it would provide focus, co-ordination and market for the produce, by identifying buyers both locally and internationally.

The company would also be responsible for fixing prices that would increase farmer’s income.

In his remarks, Governor Danbaba Suntai said the lack of market was discouraging the farmers. He appealed to the minister to assist in attracting investors for the abundant agricultural potential of the state, adding that his government would create an investment friendly environment.

Members of the inspection team included former President Olusegun Obasanjo; the Netherlands Ambassador to Nigeria, Bert Ronhaar; and Scott Wallace, the Country Representative of the International Centre for Soil fertility and Agricultural Development(IFDC).