A university Don, Prof. Kolawole Adebayo, says Nigeria is not ready for commercial export of cassava until some modalities are put in place.
Adebayo, a professor of Rural Development Communication at the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), made this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Lagos.
The don was speaking against the backdrop that Nigeria is the world’s largest producer of cassava with next to nothing in cassava export revenue.
”Cassava is our secret, it is cheap and it is readily available, we do not need to import it and almost anybody can afford it.
”Exporting cassava is a business opportunity, but in order to exploit that opportunity, we need to step up our production level, we need to produce more than we need to eat.
”If we are able to strategically plan an increase in the cultivation of cassava across the country then we can start talking about export.
”This will require continuous investments and structures need to be put in place. If we put these modalities in place, then we can start talking about exporting cassava,” the professor said.
The don also advised against delving into the export of cassava without adequate preparation, saying it would pose a threat to the food basket of the country.
”There are industrial uses of cassava such as the production of ethanol and industrial starch, but we are a cassava consuming nation.
”We should not forget that before we can start talking of export, we must ensure that we are not jeopardising that food basket of the country.
”So long as the necessary effort to increase the production of cassava is not put in place, I think as a practitioner in the field, I will focus on use of cassava within the nation.
”For now in cassava production, we are in a good position, we should not leave our good position to go and get something that is not viable just to prove a point,” he said.
Based on data from Food and Agriculture Organisation, Nigeria’s cassava production is by far the largest in the world with a production of over 47 million tonnes in 2013.
Data further reveals that although Nigeria is the largest producer of cassava worldwide, Thailand is the world’s largest exporter of cassava with at least half of the market.