B4FA Fellow Abdallah el-Kurebe reports:
Ethanol is also produced from cassava and is used as fuel, alcoholic beverages, perfumes, cosmetics, medicaments, etc.
Nigeria is the largest producer of cassava but the nation’s annual local demand of ethanol is between 300 and 400 million litres. The country only meets up with three percent of total annual demand. The balance of 97% is presently met through importation, requiring a whooping N160 billion – an expense that must be curtailed.
Bridging the importation gap
Funded by the United Kingdom Agency for International Development (UKAID), the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) came up with the Cassava Mechanisation and Agro-Processing (CAMAP) project. This brings cassava cluster farmers as producers and processors, who are up-takers, together.
Aimed at encouraging mechanisation thereby growing beyond subsistence, the cassava farmers are provided with farm inputs including fertilisers, insecticides, implement as well as taught best practices, under the project.
According to CAMAP project coordinator, Ayodele David, “A farmer spends 10 days to harvest cassava on a hectare of land while a farmer in India spends less than six hours on the same portion of land under mechanisation.”
He observes that appropriate mechanisation for cassava could support production, processing as well as developing its market along the value-chain.
AATF’s Communication and Partnership officer, Abu Umaru said that “CAMAP initially targeted 3.5 million farmers in five years but the project is so accepted by farmers that the number may be surpassed.
“The project connects cassava farmers with industrial users directly at competitive price,” he stressed.