With arable land, favourable climatic condition and readily available manpower, Nigeria could actually diversify its economy around in no distant time.
This is because the country can earn billions in foreign currency from its current 47 million tonnes of cassava tubers produced annually as rightly prophesied by a university don, Professor Aloy Ezirim.
Nigeria rather than producing cassava for local consumption alone can go a step further with right policy and kegislation and produce it for both industrial purpose and for consumption, targeting international market.
Diversification of the nation’s economy can take the country to the Promised Land, and this can be achieved by producing cassava for industrialised purposes, which is presently in global demand.
Nigeria is the largest producer of cassava tubers in the world but cassava produced in the country is processed and consumed locally in various forms with little set aside for export.
Today, cassava has over 2,000 uses in the world that can easily replace or support crude oil as a foreign exchange earner and provide employment for many, if well harnessed.
“Government cannot leave cassava production in the hands of individuals, rather it should intervene by considering cassava as a national crop and accord it priority attention given to crude oil.
For example, cassava could be used as biofuel as well as used to produce livestock feeds; ethno-medicine; cassava flour; cassava starch and cassava wine and oil, alcohol and syrup, which is in high demand by food, beverage and pharmaceutical industries.
With the seriousness on the part if current administration to give attention to agricultural development,
Nigerian farmers just need to equip themselves with modern researches and development techniques that would enable them expand production and export harvest.
As at now, Nigeria is one of the largest producer of cassava in the world followed by Thailand, Indonesia and Brazil, Angola, Ghana and Democratic Republic of Congo where the county produce almost a third more than the volume of cassava produced in other African countries, including Malawi, Cameroon, Mozambique, Benin, Sierra Leone, Madagascar, Uganda and Rwanda.
With this revelations, government, farmers and others that will be involved in cassava value chain can generate more revenue as foreign exchange and additional income within the domestic market.