The National Programme Coordinator, Value Chain Development Program (VCDP) Garba Bala, referred to the dialogue on rice held in 2018, which resulted in increase in rice production levels, as a point of reference for the development of the cassava value chain in Nigeria. Although Nigeria is said to be the largest producer of cassava in the world, the country still spends $600m on imports of derivatives such as starch, glucose, and sorbitol.
To curb this, the Central Bank of Nigeria has injected ₦25bn into the cassava value chain, with the promise to invest yearly in the agricultural sub-sector. This investment would be focused on Kogi, Ebonyi, Cross River, Ekiti and Ondo States being Nigeria’s cassava belt. The thinking is to expand processing beyond garri and fufu, ensuring that cassava is used for pharmaceutical products amongst others. In addition, the value chain has the capacity to create over 2 million jobs in Nigeria if well harnessed
According to CBN, some of the gaps and potential demands in the cassava value chain to include, a huge demand for high quality cassava flour in bread, biscuits and snacks, which is above 500,000 tons annually but a supply of below 15,000 tons is barely achieved. Today, a 300,000-ton demand for starch exists, with only a supply of below 10,000 tons being achieved.
As part of the plan to resuscitate the cassava industry, the CBN also plans to collaborate with the private sector and the cassava-producing states to ensure that investments are not wasted due to low yield varieties, poor farm practices and manual systems of farming, amongst others. With these investments and collaborations, it is believed that the cassava value chain can be revived and the sub-sector can create more job opportunities for Nigerians.