NIGERIA – The Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Akinwunmi Adeshina has disclosed that the federal government targets 51m metric tonnes of cassava production in 2017 up from the 38m metric tonnes of cassava produced currently.
Speaking in Abeokuta during a training workshop on quality management systems for flash dried quality cassava production, the minister said: “Our target is to increase cassava production by 2017 to 51million metric tonne, presently we are between 38million and 40million metric tonne.”
Adeshina who was represented by his Technical Adviser on Cassava Value Change, Mrs. Toyin Adetunji added: “our target for 2017 is to reduce the cost of production and this varies with locations within Nigeria. We want to reduce cost by giving out improved varieties to farmers which we have been doing in the last three years.”
On support and upgrade of equipment for Small and Medium Enterprise (SME), he said the federal government had bulk sum of about N3.4bn deposited with the Bank of Industry that is disbursing the fund to target people that included the Master Bakers and SMEs producing the high quality Cassava flour.
According to the minister, the importance of the technical skills and training workshop was to create markets for the farmers and catchment areas for their market, saying this should be between 30 and 50 kilometres radius.
He, therefore, said the training cuts across the country, stressing that FG’s target was to touch about 150 in each region in the country.
He added: “We are here for the production of cassava flash drive high quality cassava marsh. When we talk of flash drive, we mean the type of equipment used that is: the grated, pressed cassava marsh introduced into the processing machine.”
Adeshina stated that the quality management training was basically introduced in terms of skill development and business development to improve upon capacity of the existing SME.
He added it was aimed at “helping in the development Cassava industry as you all know under the cassava transformation agenda, which entails the inclusion of high quality cassava flour in bread, quality administration of the flour, and getting high quality cassava means putting all the necessary inputs in place to achieve the desired result.”