Segun Adewumi, national president, Nigeria Cassava Growers Association, says the country can generate over N20 trillion from cassava within a year.
Adewumi said this in an interview with NAN in Abuja on Monday.
He said that cassava, which is one of the most reliable cash crops in the world, could also be used to “trigger industrial revolution and solve Nigeria’s economic problems”.
Adewumi lamented that the country spent over N600 billion yearly to import ethanol and starch, cassava derivatives that could be processed and sourced locally.
He said the crop has over 20 food types and three major industrial products, such as ethanol, starch and cassava flour, which are raw materials for other products.
“Government should pay more attention to cassava, it has been neglected,” he said.
“By the time cassava is accorded the needed attention, it will take over crude oil. We have been trying to set up industries that will utilise cassava for the benefit of this country.”
Adewumi called on both the federal and state governments to provide lands for farmers to boost mechanised cassava farming.
He noted that modern cassava cultivation required mechanisation to meet up with international best practices.
The farmer explained that making cultivable land available to cassava farmers would improve yields and create employment.
“When we import, we are exporting our job opportunities. The government should encourage setting up of industries and mechanise cassava farms,” he said.
“I do not expect the government to give us free money, but to provide enabling environment by making loans and lands available.
“The only area where the government can come in with money is provision of infrastructure. By the time we begin to have 500,000 hectares for mechanisation, the country will get out of this foreign exchange problem.”