The Ekiti State government and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) have partnered to empower 1,000 farmers in the state for commercial production of cassava.
For smooth take off of the cassava model farming, Governor Kayode Fayemi has released over 6,000 hectares of land to Nigeria Cassava Growers’ Association, Ekiti state chapter.
Speaking while unveiling the programme in Ado Ekiti on Tuesday, Fayemi, represented by the Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr Folorunso Olabode, said cassava production value chain would help in propelling industrial development in Ekiti.
Fayemi said the government had secured N1.9 billion to prepare land across various locations in the state to encourage farming, massive employment and availability of raw materials for agro-allied industries.
“The value chain in cassava is inestimable. It has over 50 products. Cassava has graduated from the famous garri to high grade starch, syrup, flakes, fufu paste, cassava bread and biofuel. In fact, it has transformed into a golden crop that can transform any economy,” he said.
The CBN Branch Controller in the state, Alhaji Ganiyu Atobatele, described agriculture as the largest employer of labour in the country, every effort should be made to revamp the sector and return it as the mainstay of the economy.
“The CBN will make credit available to farmers under the five-star cassava project. The target is 30 metric tonnes per hectares and all activities will be mechanised. About 47,406 metric tonnes of cassava was produced in 2014 with bulk of it consumed.
“But with our intervention, it can be processed further to produce other products that will help the economy through employment generation, food security and foreign exchange earnings,” he said.
Also speaking, the National President of the Nigeria Cassava Growers’ Association, Pastor Segun Adewumi, said 25 tractors and other equipment had been mobilised to Ekiti, as of yesterday, to begin the scheme.
Adewumi applauded the CBN Governor, Dr Godwin Emefiele and the partnering bank for keying into the dream for massive cassava production.