C: AVA II Targets 2m Metric Tonnes Of Cassava Roots By 2019 | Independent Newspapers Limited
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C: AVA II Targets 2m Metric Tonnes Of Cassava Roots By 2019

Posted: Mar 21, 2016 at 1:08 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

Seyi Taiwo-Oguntuase, Lagos

Professor Kolawole Adebayo, Project Director of Cassava Adding Value to Africa (C:AVA) has affirmed that the main goal of C:AVA II is that by 2019, they would have facilitated systems where smallholder farmers would have sold more than two million metric tonnes of fresh cassava root to targeted value chains in Nigeria, Ghana, Tanzania, Uganda and Malawi.
He stated this while speaking on research benefits derivable from the C:AVA II Project, stressing that the project had achieved about 20 percent of its goal within the first one year.
Adebayo noted that in the last four to five years, about $625 million was spent annually to import wheat into Nigeria and that if only 10 percent substitution was done, about $62.5 million in import bill would have been saved, as this would enrich the nation’s economy and the fortune of cassava farmers.
According to him, cassava had created opportunities where none existed, by increasing food security in the country, providing jobs and making people happier.
Talking about the achievements and milestones recorded in this research project, he disclosed that for the past 15 years, cassava had grown from being used merely for ‘garri’,  ‘fufu’ or traditional ‘lafun’, to many other products, adding that it has aided national development by increasing food security, saved the country a lot of resources from food importation, increased revenue from exportation, enriched local farmers, created jobs and businesses for the citizens, as Nigeria had been placed on the world map as a leader in cassava research and development.
“Because of the funds from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, there is enough money to acquire any type of equipment or facility needed, but what is more important for us is that government should provide now good infrastructural network like good roads, water supply, electricity and Internet.
According to him, these are endemic issues which Nigeria needs to address. “If you want to be the best in the world, you cannot be the best by having systems that do not function. If your working environment is conducive, you will like to work for longer hours, which is good for the system.
Speaking further, he stated that his team’s beneficiaries cut across many facets of life and that there are primary beneficiaries, who are mostly farmers that grow the cassava, the SMEs who produce High Quality Cassava Flour (HQCF), large scale entrepreneurs, who produce ethanol, large scale entrepreneurs, who buy about four to eight trailers every day, while the SMEs buy about three to five tonnes of fresh cassava roots, daily.
“We also have the livestock farmers and feed millers and other groups, who are not found in Nigeria, such as plywood and paperboard industries, but are common in Ghana and Malawi, where cassava is used for binding plies and paper boards”, he added.
The Project Director, opined that enough research was not being carried out in the country thereby suggested that government should provide sufficient funds for research with the necessary follow-up and monitoring efforts.
On the other hand he noted that the International Foundation for Science (IFS), which is based in Sweden, was sponsoring one of his on-going projects on cocoyam, as he observed that cocoyam had been an under-utilised and under-researched crop, noting that most of the youths do not really know much about cocoyam unlike yam and cassava.
He said about 50,000 dollars has been released for two years from IFS, to look at those factors that had made cocoyam unpopular and how to address this unpopularity.
He added that it might take another 20 years before they could get to the stage where cassava is at the moment, but with enough research sponsorship, cocoyam would become another root crop to be sought-after.
He also said another research had been on the utilisation of cassava peel.
As a researcher, who is very interested in the environment and while carrying out his C:AVA Project work, he observed that cassava peel were found in heaps, as the workers do not know what to do with them.
According to the Don, he sourced for funds from the World Bank about $200,000 for one year and then got additional fund from the European Union (EU) to continue the research under the Gratitude Project, which is headed by Professor Lateef Sanni, Country Director of C:AVA.
According to him, his interest was to look at how they can handle these peels, so that they can become something they can make money from.
“If people make money from cassava peel, they would not want to dump them and those who make money from them would be happy,”
He said with the research he has been able to prove that it is not only the main cassava that people could make money from, but also from its waste as well.
The Director, alongside his colleagues had found a simple and cheap way to process cassava peels in order to remove the poison by making them edible and not injurious to animals.
He said the peels were processed having been spread under the sun for about 25 to 27 degree centigrade, which destroys the poison, known as Hydrogen Cyanide.