6th October, 2011
The Cassava Growers Association has has commended the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development for the three-month ultimatum to flour millers to commence the 10 per cent cassava flour inclusion policy.
The Southwest Zonal Chairman of the association, Dr David Ogunsade, gave the commendation while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recently at Imesi-Ile, in Obokun Local Government of Osun.
The association had earlier appealed to the Federal Government and the National Assembly to implement and give legal backing to the 10 per cent cassava inclusion policy, initiated by the former President Olusegun Obasanjo under the Presidential Initiative on Cassava.
The policy was aimed at enhancing the utilisation of the cassava crop for maximum benefit to cassava farmers and the nation in general.
Ogunsade observed with satisfaction, that the ultimatum, ordered by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, came at the right time when hundreds of jobless youths were showing interest in cultivating cassava.
He added that the pronouncement on the substitution of cassava flour, had once again proved that President Good luck Jonathan was really determined to revitalise the agricultural sector.
â€œIf the policy becomes law and all bakers abide by it, post-harvest losses, currently facing our members, due to non-availability of ready made markets will be overcome.
â€œMore people, especially jobless graduates, pensioners and businessmen and women, who have interest in commercial farming will prefer investing in growing cassava.
â€œSome interested members of the public have been coming to confirm the news, asking how they can acquire land for cassava cultivation,” Ogunsade stated.
He expressed optimism that cassava production would soon boost the nationâ€™s economy and become a leading player on the international market.
The chairman allayed fears that the 10 per cent substitution of cassava flour for wheat flour, would reduce the supply of â€˜garriâ€˜ and cassava flour (laafun) for domestic use, thereby leading to price hike.
He assured domestic users of cassava products of adequate supply and expressed confidence in the ability of cassava growers in the Southwest of the country to continue to produce the crop.
Nigeria is currently the worldâ€™s largest cassava producer with about 42 million tonnes per annum.