One of the manufacturers in Nigeria who specialised in the use of cassava for the production of Ethanol has said that the country is losing billions of naira due to a shortfall in Cassava supply.
He noted that the country needs a minimum of four hundred million litres of Ethanol, yet it can only produce about nine million locally due to poor supply of cassava, the main raw material.
TVC News Kazeem Olowe in this reports that in the past, usage of Cassava in Nigeria was limited to production of starchy foods like Garri, Fufu, Apu, Cassava flour, Chips among others but recently, thanks to modern researches, the list of things that can be derived from cassava has become long.
Now, the use of cassava for the production of bread, chips, ethanol among others keeps growing.
But unfortunately, majority of Nigerians farmers still rely on cutlasses and hoes to farm. This is one of the reasons supply of cassava cannot meet demand in the market, because aside from those who need cassava for production of foods, there are several others who need it for industrial purposes.
The managing director of the biggest ethanol company in Nigeria, Rajasekar told TVC News that since the start of operation in 2014, the company has not been able to produce to installed capacity due to lack of Cassava.
In an attempt to bridge the demand and supply gap, the African Agricultural Technology Foundation, with the support of the United Kingdom Agency for International Development has introduced Cassava Mechanisation and Agro-processing project (CAMAP) to encourage mechanised farming in the country.
Currently, the project is in full operation in many states, including Kwara, Osun, Benue, Oyo, Kogi, Delta and Ogun.
Under the project, the only thing required from farmers or intending farmers is the land.
The foundation has been supporting them with access to financing, ploughing, application of fertilisers and herbicides, planting, harvesting and linking of farmers to the off takers who are ready to buy their produce at higher rates.
Friday Idowu, a 50 year old farmer from Ayetoro, Ogun State, was introduced to mechanised farming in the year 2016 and he made a comparative analysis of using manual method and the mechanised method of farming.
Despite this Cassava Mechanization Programme, supply of cassava produce cannot match demand, leading to the loss of billions of Naira every year.
With the Present high rate of unemployment in Nigeria, one wonders why young Nigerians have not grabbed the opportunity to secure land and leverage on the three year support window provided by the AATF to produce what is in high demand in the country and smile to the bank.