Prices of cassava stems have dropped to N400 per bundle after touching a high of N1, 200, as demand eases.
Since last year, prices of cassava roots and its derivatives such as Garri climbed to an all-time high as demand outstripped supply.
In a statement signed by IITA’s Communication & Knowledge Exchange Expert, Godwin Atser, researchers are still expecting data on demand and supply from the National Bureau of Statistics, but cassava tubers moved from N13, 000 per ton to about N40, 000, according to local buyers.
Cassava is an important crop in Nigeria and the roots are processed to starch, ethanol, flour and garri-a staple. Other uses include fufu and lafun. In some communities, the tuber is boiled and eaten directly.
In 2014, about seven million hectares was planted with cassava, according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).According to a Cassava Breeder with IITA, Dr. Peter Kulakow, who is also working on the cassava seed systems project, most of the varieties planted to cover the hectares were from the informal sector, noting that the Nigerian cassava seed system is not well structured, an arrangement that the project—Building an Economically Sustainable Integrated Seed System for Cassava (BASICS) is trying to correct.
Farmers usually obtain planting materials from previous field, cut them in lengths of about a meter and tie them into bundles comprising 50 stems each and sell.
Certification from regulators is still rare, but the Nigerian Agricultural Seed Council (NASC) is working with BASICS to set standards and begin the certification of cassava planting materials.
A Farmer, Monsurat Kassim, is one of those selling cassava stems in Southwest through the informal channel.In an interview with Cassava Matters, she said there has been more demand for cassava stems than the previous years.
“More people are buying the stems this year than they did last year… I think the rise in price of cassava products is part of the motivation,” she explained.