The Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning says the Cassava Bio-Ethanol Value Chain is capable of creating more employment than any other sector in Nigeria.
Nebeolisa Anako, permanent secretary of the ministry, stated this on Tuesday at the Northeast regional awareness and sensitisation workshop on bio-economy, employment and inclusive growth, in Yola, Adamawa State.
The workshop was organised by the ministry in collaboration with Veekites Global Services Ltd., using the cassava bio-ethanol value chain development programme as its pilot project.
Anako said that economic diversification was critical to the economic sustainability of the nation, adding that Nigeria, being the world’s largest producer of cassava had no excuse to be import dependent.
Anako, represented by Auwal Mohamed, deputy director, economic growth, in the ministry, said that the sensitisation programmes would trickle down to the local governments.
He said this was to enable rural farmers to become abreast with the goal of achieving wealth and employment from bio-economy.
He also explained that universities were critical partners, so as to involve students in the project.
The permanent secretary assured that the programme would be sustainable as long as Nigerians begin to enjoy its benefits.
He also said that the programme was funded through Public Private Partnership (PPP) as many other donors had shown commitment.
He thanked states in the northeast for their commitment in the implementation of the project.
Governor Ahmadu Fintiri of Adamawa commended the Federal Government for initiating the programme.
Fintiri, represented by Edna Lulu, a director in the Adamawa ministry of agriculture, expressed the commitment of the state to key into any form of economic diversification.
According to Fintiri, the era of putting all eggs in one basket is gone.
Ken Ife, lead consultant, NEPAD and the consultant biosources and technologies, said that cassava bio-ethanol would generate more wealth than crude oil.
Ife said that Nigeria as a leading world producer of cassava could generate 35 billion dollars annually from cassava export.
He said that cassava flour only could generate more income for many Nigerians.
He, however, noted that the economy had relegated cassava as a veritable raw material for economic growth, saying that its importance outweighed most agricultural produce as well as mineral resources.
The event was attended by students, university lecturers, as well as officials of CBN, Bank of Industry, ministries of agriculture, finance and budget planning, trade and investment among others.