Calls for industrialisation of ‘game-changing crops’ intensify

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Block production of chocolate bars in Multi Trex Plc PHOTO: Femi Ibirogba

The head of the agricultural economic bureau FEMI IBIROGBA reports on the full industrialization and addition of the cost of some crops as gaming shifts in the efforts to develop the economy.

Cocoa, cashew, palm products and peanuts were the main foreign exchange trades in Nigeria before and after independence. At the peak of cocoa production, the country produced more than 400,000 metric tons a year before the decline. Palm oil and peanuts were also produced in large quantities, in which a total of more than 70% of the population are employed.

Cashew nuts are mainly exported, but only nuts with cucumbers, based in Ilorin, Kvar, as one single major cashew processing enterprise in the country. According to experts, the export of raw cashews-nuts affects employment and economic prosperity.
Yam and cassava, with Nigeria as the largest producer, have acquired huge economic and commercial status.

To increase productivity and industrialization for economic growth and development, experts, entrepreneurs and farmers called on the government to pay attention to the following crops and their added value.

Cassava and its value chain

From Asia to Africa, cassava has become a multipurpose plant, used not only as animal feed, but also as industrial raw materials.
Growing and processing cassava has created and can still create many jobs in Nigeria, increase exports, attract foreign investment and promote the industrialization and modernization of several rural areas. Being an excellent source of starch and flour, cassava has a huge potential for development, and companies like Thai Farms and Allied Atlantic Distillery are already exploring the industrial use of the crop.

Cassava has a competitive advantage for ethanol because of its lower production costs and a simpler ethanol processing technology. For this reason, it is expected that during the current decade, the area of ​​Chinese cassava production will expand to about 600,000 to 800,000 hectares, and outsourcing for industrial use will increase demand for Africa and, in addition, Nigeria, the world's largest root vegetable producer.

Cassava is particularly suitable and relatively cheap for baking flour. It is quite suitable for the production of modified starch. Modified starch is the main product among starch derivatives, as it has become a new raw material in many industries.

Coordinator of the African Agricultural Technology Fund (AATF), Ilorin, Kvara, Mr. David Ayodele, said that the industrial demand for cassava as raw materials is so high that most processors produce below the capacity.

However, Dr. Okechukwu Richardson, cassava producer at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), proposed to mechanize the production of cassava and effective weed control to increase the average yield per hectare from 10 to 35 tons and reduce the average cost per ton. Thus, he said, more jobs will be created, and poverty will be drastically reduced.

Drinking his tent with Richardson, Ayodela said that the complete mechanization of the production of cassava, from planting to harvesting, will lead to increased productivity and greater economic activity and will lead to a production demand for labor, hence creating jobs.

For example, he explained that in factories that currently produce less capacity, more young people can be attracted if they have more crop roots for processing, and that they will need more marketing and distribution staff, which will have a positive impact on the economy.

If a mechanical seed drill was used to land the bar, he claimed that the plant population would be maximally increased to about 12,500 stands. This, he added, will increase tonnage per hectare.

Therefore, the government should pay special attention to improving cassava production in the country, to cover and disseminate new weed control technologies coming from universities, IITA and other research institutions to farmers through extension services.

Managing Director of FDH AgroVet, Mr. Femi Akinwale, described cassava as underutilized for animal feed in the country. Kassava chips can be used to replace a percentage of corn in the feed. He added that this will further strengthen the industrial use of the crop, strengthen production and contribute to the economy.

maize

Corn is a very competitive crop. Intensive animal husbandry and subsequent food needs of animals cause great demand for corn in feeds, in addition to other industrial uses, creating intense competition between humans and animals for harvest as a powerful source of energy.

According to the evidence and program verification team, the Department of Health and Development of the World Health Organization (WHO), Geneva, said that corn contains about 72% of starch; 10% protein; and 4% fat, providing an energy density of 365 kcal / 100 g and grown all over the world, and the US, China and Brazil – world production with about 563 out of 717 million metric tons per year.

Corn can be processed into various food and industrial products, including starch, sweeteners, butter, beverages, glue, corn food, industrial alcohol and fuel ethanol.

Improved varieties are approved, registered and published by the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN) through the Committee on the Production of National Cultures and Animals, which is conducted by NACGRAB in Ibadan. The best of the newly released varieties should be multiplied and supplied to farmers at subsidized prices to increase yields per hectare on average from 2.5 to 8 or 10 tons per hectare.

sweet potato

Yam Improving Income and Food Security in West Africa (YIIFSWA) The IITA has announced that Yam is considered the most important source of dietary calories in Cote d'Ivoire, Benin, Ghana and Nigeria. He also said that the crop makes a significant contribution to protein in the diet, ranking third as the main source of nutrition. Consequently, pits are important for ensuring food security (as a basis for at least 60 million people) and generating income; 31.8% of the population in Nigeria and 26.2% in Ghana depend on the pits for food and income.

Sieving machine for cashews PHOTO: google

Despite its importance in the economy and life of many people, the pit faces several limitations that significantly reduce its potential to support rural development and meet the needs of consumers as an affordable food product.

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbe, said that one of the most difficult obstacles in the production of pits was the creation of a pile, as conventional agricultural implements could not be used for a heap pit. Nevertheless, the National Center for Agricultural Mechanization (NCAM) developed and manufactured a machine for pile heaping. This requires a rapid multiplication of the prototype and preparation of manufacturers for mass production.

Other problems include the inaccessibility and inaccessibility of high-quality seed pits, post-harvest losses on the farm, low soil fertility, the untapped potential of markets for pits (goods and seeds) for small farmers, the inaccessibility of adapted varieties for the stressful conditions of savannahs of agro-ecology, diseases and pests and limited opportunities for small farmers, mostly rural women, in the production and marketing of pits.

Globally, Africa's contribution to the supply of grain is modest: corn – about 5%; rice, 3%; and wheat, 3% at the end of the 2000s (FAOSTAT 2013). But Africa is a leading player in the supply of cassava with 50% of global production and a pit with 95%, pointing to the government where Nigeria has competitive advantages.

Dr. Robert Asiedu, Director of IITA in West Africa, said: "The lack and high cost of a high-quality seed pond is the main obstacle in West Africa, as the food security of millions of people depends heavily on the availability and availability of seed tubers."

Traditionally, farmers use tubers as seeds, which is inefficient and costly. High production costs are associated with the use of seed tubers, which account for about 30% of the total yield and 63% of the total variable value produced during the cultivation season. Moreover, most tubers are of low quality, containing pests (nematodes) and pathogens (virus), which reduce the yield of tuber pits, added Asiyedu.

Economy of pits

In Nigeria pits are a food and cash culture. It also plays an important role in ensuring food security and the livelihoods of 60 million people in the West African region. The crop is cultivated mainly in agroecology of the deduced, moist and southern Guinea savannahs. About 48 million tons of pits (95% of the world supply) are produced on 4 million hectares annually in the region, mainly in five countries: the Benin Republic, Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria and Togo, and only in Nigeria account for 70% world offer yams.

Thus, the current administration of Nigeria should investigate high-spread propagation technologies such as grape cuttings, aeroponics and bioreactor technologies designed to make yams seeds affordable at competitive prices and to solve quality, speed and multiplication problems in seed-line production.

Yamskie farmers should also be included in the program of the Anchor borrower, and the minister should make deliberate efforts to promote the full industrialization of pits in finished and semi-finished products that could make a significant contribution to the economy, rather than exporting raw pits.

In Nigeria, there is a population that can consume most of the product, and the remnants must be sent to industrial use if the government really sees agriculture as a means of diversifying the economy.

Cocoa

As of 2001, when the former Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Adeumi Adesina, was in charge of the ministry, he set a target in the framework of the Agrarian Transformation Agenda (ATA), called the "Cocoa Conversion Program", aimed at doubling the production of cocoa in Nigeria from 250,000 to 500,000 metric tons by 2015.

Cocoa production in Nigeria has reached over 450,000 metric tons in circumvention of independence, but since then, about 200,000 tons have been mined. ATA's efforts were not only to close the gap between Nigeria and its peers in Ghana, which produces about 850,000 tons and Cote d'Ivoire, which annually produces about 1.3 million metric tons, and also activates the local use of the harvest, the administration was called "economically developed economy".

However, Managing Director of Multitrex Integrated Foods Plc, Mr. Dimeji Ovofemi, said that cocoa production did not increase to 250,000 tons per year.

He explained that the sector of the value chain of cocoa is in crisis situations in comparison with the cost of production; the search for raw materials due to competition between the exporters of raw beans and processors; and an epileptic food source, everything comes from the wrong or not implemented a good policy.

The president of the Cocoa Association of Nigeria, Mr. Sayin Riemann, also acknowledged that, although accurate data are practically impossible due to the lack of a commodity council, Nigeria produces approximately 240,000 to 250,000 tons of cocoa beans.

The most unfortunate thing, he added, about the cocoa industry in Nigeria – the reduction of manufacturing companies from 27 to 5 years, saying that the existing ones can produce only about 15 percent of installed capacity.

He urged the federal government to intervene in the case involving the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) and Multi Trex Integrated Foods Plc so that the company could resume operations and re-absorb workers in the cocoa processing plant, urging the government to cancel interest accruals on the company's loan while in AMKON.

cashew

The National Cashew Federation of Nigeria (NCAN) disclosed earlier this year that the total cashew nut income in 2017 exceeded N144 billion, while production increased from 90,000 metric tons in 2011 to about 220,000 metric tons.

The president of the association, Tola Faser, who informed the journalists about this, said that it was a breakthrough.

"It was more than twice as high as production was from 2011 to 2017," he said.
However, the proceeds from the export of cashews were mainly on raw cashew nuts to India, China and European countries. This, a farmer in Oyo State, Mr. Feofil Faroonby, said that this could mean more revenue if processing enterprises were established in the country, saying that this would mean more jobs and avoidance of economic leaks.

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr. Audu Ogbe, recently told reporters in Lagos that the export of raw cashews will be stopped by August 2019, which says little about what the government will do to achieve this.

Dr. Akin Olonihuwa, a former vice-rector of the Kabi Agricultural College in Kogi, also believed that adding value would help to increase investment in nut production and have a positive impact on employment, wealth creation and improved living standards.

However, one Mrs. Adela Ovolabi, a commercial cashew farmer in Ilorin, Kvara, stated that the government should go beyond the usual cacophony of declarations without any action, saying that the development of the cashew chain and cocoa should be taken seriously.

Palm oil

Vegetable producers still import raw palm oil into the country. A few years ago, the federal government stated that it remained firmly committed to the high tariff of the 35 per cent import duty imposed on Crude Palm Oil (CPO) to develop the agricultural sector and diversify the economy.

This was achieved when the Palma Oil Coalition Association, including the National Palm Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (NPPAN), the Nigerian Palm Oil Producers Association (OPGAN), the Forum of Plantation Owners of Nigeria (POFON) and the Vegetable & Food Producers Association of Nigeria (VEOPAN ), called on the government to prevent the massive import of raw palm oil into the country.

Nevertheless, it became known that the products are still imported, which hinders the reverse integration of processing companies and emphasizes the struggle with the economy.

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