*Processing plant set up at Abraka
Delta State is leading the drive to boost cassava production in Nigeria for export as Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan, CON has allocated 25 hectares for the establishment of a processing plant in Abraka and an additional 6,000 hectares for the development of commercial cassava farms to supply the plant.
Already, the Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) for the two locations have issued to the Federal Ministry of Agriculture by the Delta State Government to the admiration of Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, Minister Agriculture who said Delta remains the only state to have provided land for the plant with additional land for commercial cultivation.
According to Adesina, 18 large-scale cassava processing plants each with 72,000 metric tonnes processing capacity are to be established in various parts of the country under the programme aimed at having Nigeria make an in-road in the global cassava market.
Adesina commended Dr. Uduaghan for his concerted efforts at revolutionizing agriculture in Delta State, noting that by promptly allocating land for the cassava project, the governor has laid the foundation for the state to emerge as the cassava basket for the country.
“I was pleasantly delighted when I arrived to receive the news that the Governor of Delta State has already allocated 25 hectares of land for the establishment of the plant and an additional 6,000 hectares for the development of commercial cassava farms to supply the plant. I have the C of Os for theses with me right here”, Adesina stated, thanking Uduaghan for “showing patriotism and supporting your cassava farmers.”
The agriculture minister who spoke at the 9th All Nigerian Editors Conference of the Nigerian Guild of Editors in Asaba said Delta’s prompt intervention in cassava programme will fast track Nigeria’s quest to reduce the N127 billion import bill on wheat flour through the incorporation of 20 percent high quality cassava flour into the production of composite flour with wheat to produce bread.
To complete the value chain for the production of cassava bread, Adesina said President Goodluck Jonathan has established a N10 billion cassava bread fund. The fund will support nation-wide training of 5,000 master bakers, expand the production of cassava and support flour processors to produce more cassava flour at lower cost. The fund will also enable corporate bakers to expand as well as intensify social marketing of cassava bread.
The minister said Nigeria has secured contracts to supply 3.2 million metric tones of cassava chips to China and arrangement are underway for the Africa Export-Import Bank to provide a loan facility of $40 million to cassava chip exporters. Nigeria expects to earn over $800 million from meeting the supply contracts to China.
CHIKE C. OGEAH Esq
Delta State Commissioner for Information