• Friday, June 14, 2024
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FG to earn $1.37bn from dried cassava chips exports this year

FG to earn $1.37bn from dried cassava chips exports this year

Going by existing contracts on the supply and export of value-added dried cassava chips, Akinwumi Adesina, minister of agriculture and rural development, has disclosed that Nigeria will this year earn between $802 million and $1.37 billion as exports to China and Europe.

He added that Nigeria’s earnings increased by N759 billion in 2012 through effective and aggressive Federal Government led agriculture drive.

Adesina said that the proposed huge earnings from the export of value-added dried cassava chips would be realisable through an effectively secured financing of over $200 million for 18 private sector-owned large scale cassava plants with 1.3 million metric tons capacity per year and the provision of agricultural inputs through Federal Government-backed Growth Enhancement Scheme (GES) for small-holder farmers.

The minister, who delivered a keynote address at the 40th National Council on Agriculture and Rural Development regular meeting held in Abeokuta on Thursday, revealed that 10 million farmers had so far been registered by the Federal Government-led Growth Enhancement Scheme (GES), adding that Nigeria produced 1.79 million metric tons of cassava in both rainy and dry seasons last year.

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He said that the Federal Government having observed the increasing Nigeria’s unfavourable balance of payment receipts, had intensified move on a strategic shift from oil-dependent economic status to agriculture-based economy that would provide adequate leverage on where the country has comparative advantage to diversify the economy to create jobs and ensure food security.

He decried Nigeria’s status being the net importer of goods just as he revealed that Nigeria spends 60 cents on importation of goods and services in return of every one dollar she earns from foreign countries, but the minister assured the populace that President Goodluck Jonathan-led agriculture initiatives will address all the perceived anomalies in the agriculture sector.

He said, “With the present aggressive drive on agriculture, especially cassava planting and processing, Nigeria can earn between $802 million and $1.37 billion from dried cassava chips exports to China and Europe, based on existing contracts. The Federal Government has secured financing of $200 million for 18 private sector-owned large scale cassava plants with 1.3 metric tons capacity per year.

“Last year, we produced 696,000 metric tons of cassava in the rainy season; we did 1.1 million metric tons during dry season, the first time in Nigerian history. The time is now to make strategic shifts and leverage on our comparative advantage, which is agriculture. There is need to diversify our economy, to create jobs and ensure food security”.

The minister added that as part of Federal Government’s efforts to intensify moves on large-scale and exports-based cassava farming and processing, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development would soon set up a large-scale cassava processing plant with a production of 70,000 metric tons at a location in Ogun State, saying Ogun State government had been a partner in progress as regards Federal Government agriculture drive, especially on cassava production.