By Paul Iduozee
Dr. Olusegun Awolowo, the Executive Director of Nigeria Export Promotion Council, NEPC has called on Nigerians to invest more on cassava processing; adding that such investment can create 500 thousand jobs annually and lift over 20 million people out of poverty in the country.
The NEPC Executive Director said Nigeria is currently ranked as the highest producer of cassava, producing about 20% of the total world production.
He made this known today in Benin City at a workshop on the implementation of the One-State-One-Product value chain strategy on zero oil plan in Nigeria.
The NEPC Executive Director who was represented at the event by the Council Trade Promotion Advisor at the Export Assistance Office in Benin City, Macpherson Lleogben, said that Nigeria “Despite being the world largest producer of cassava, the industry is facing some challenges, such as; climate change, low yields, quality issues, low processing, sharp practices, infrastructural deficiency and poor access to finance which has constraint export.
“It is vital to engage the value chain players from time to time to address these plights, so that we can grow the export of the product in Nigeria.”
He said cassava and wood is the main alternative products to crude oil dependence in Edo state.
“The focus of today’s workshop is on cassava development, with over 59 million metric tons production.
“Nigeria is ranked as the largest producer of cassava; producing about 20% of the total world production.
“The total estimated world production is put at over 291 million metric tons in 2017.
“In 2015, NEPC developed a game changer documents tagged the Zero-Oil Plan.
“The initiative was developed as a strategy for boosting foreign exchange earnings through the non-oil sector.
“Preparing Nigeria for an economy that would not depend on a single drop of crude oil for survival.”
“The Zero Oil Plan has set a long-term goal of earning 20% of Nigeria’s GDP (i.e US$100 billion) from non oil exports.
“The initial target is to exceed US$30 billion in non-oil exports over the next 10 years.
“If properly implemented, the plan will lead to three primary results:
“Add an extra US$150 million (minimum) to Nigeria’s foreign reserves cumulatively from non-oil exports over the next 10 years.
“Create at least 500,000 additional job annually.
“Due to an increase in productive and export activities, helping to contribute to Sustaniable Development Goal (SDG)
“Decent Work and Economic Growth.
“Lift at least 20 million Nigerians out of poverty, contributing towards SDG 1-(No Poverty), he said.
Also, the Permanent Secretary to the Edo State Ministry of Wealth Creation, Cooperative and Employment, Joel Edionwe urged the farmers at the occasion to look for the modern ways of how to process their Cassava products .
Edionwe added that Edo State produce the largest cassava in Nigeria and appealed to the farmers to develop a new format to produce a large quantities and thereafter declared the event opened.
The Edo State Chairman of All Farmers Association of Nigeria, AFAN, Chief Emmanuel Odugie, said the farmers attended the event to benefit from the workshop so that they can produce large quantities of cassava.
He urged the participants to listen to the various speakers so that they can learn the modern ways of cultivating good cassava products.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Trade Promotion Advisor at the Benin Export Assistance Office of Nigeria Export Promotion Council, NEPC, Macpherson Lleogben, said, the event is aimed at building the capacity of farmers and processor across the cassava value chain.
Lleogben said it will further strengthen the non-oil exports performance of Edo state.