Ban starch importation to boost local products, expert tells FG

The Chairman, Harvest Feeds and Agro Processing Limited, Goke Adeyemi, on Thursday, urged the Federal Government to ban the importation of industrial starch to promote local producers.
Adeyemi told journalists, in Abuja, that there was a massive market for starch in Nigeria, but lamented that imported starch had affected the growth of the sub-sector.
According to him, the sub-sector had the capacity to contribute meaningfully to cassava value chain and the economy at large.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that starch is a white powdery substance extracted from tubers, and cereals widely used in the food industry, as well as to stiffen fabrics and to make papers, among others.
Afeyemi said that many starch processors were unable to break even, because the several tonnes of starch in their warehouses had no market.
“There is an urgent need to check the importation, in view of the government economic recovery plan.
“Even if the government cannot completely ban imported starch, it should create a level playing ground, such that local producers can compete with the importers,” he said.
He said that the Nigerian market had been flooded with all sorts of starch, alleging that some of them were even of lower quality to that produced locally.
Adeyemi noted that since the country was one of the highest cassava producers, and consumed a lot of it, there was the need to utilise its comparative advantage.
He urged farmers to discard small-holder farming and take advantage of government’s various agricultural schemes to improve yields
According to him, most farmers still engage in manual farming, adding that this had resulted in low harvest and inadequate raw materials for cassava processing factories in the country.
“Another issue is that we have too many small-holder farmers, who have just one or two hectares of farms, which are located far from our factories.
“We need to have complete commercialisation of starch as a product. We need to have more than 1,000 hectares of cassava farms in a 20-kilometre radius of a factory.
“This means that one does not have to go far to get cassava for processing,” he added.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *