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Problems of Cassava Processing in Nigeria
#1
Quote:Turning now to large scale assembly in quick succession, it has already been mentioned that very few plants are in operation today. This was not the case even two years ago. In the late 1990s medium to large processing facilities were operating, many as starch manufacturers.
 
However, many of these industries closed down because they were working at low and seasonal capacities. Peak Products Nigeria Limited is an example of a company that was able to adjust under adverse circumstances and thus remain in operation. Its story is worth describing here in some detail. 

Peak Products Nigeria Limited began cassava processing in 1998 with the sun drying of cassava flour. The flour was sold to bakeries and confectionaries through Ogun State Agricultural Development Programme (Agro Processing Unit). However, some processors began contaminated fermented cassava flour with unfermented cassava and by 1999-2000 the flour bakeries and confectionaries stopped asking for and using cassava flour. This forced Peak to shift to the production of sun dried cassava starch.  With growing demand for cassava starch, Peak upgraded from sun drying to the use of a mechanical dryer. Using a flash dryer, production capacity achieved 3-5 tonnes per day, 72 000 tonnes per year with a daily input of 25-30 tonnes of wet starch.
 
Flash drying however requires a wet milling component. Faced with environmental problems, the company was forced to stop wet milling and instead obtained wet cake from rural women. At present Peak is currently under utilized in its production of cassava starch because it has diversified production into the fabrication of flash dryers.
 
Existing buyers of Peak’s flash dryers are predominantly chemical companies from the Sango-Lagos Axis and a few beverages and food industries. Prospective buyers include Nigerian Distilleries in Ota who want 150 tonnes of cassava flour per day for ethanol production. DeUnited Nig Ltd., is looking to produce 60 000 tonne of cassava flour per month for noodles (Ndomie Noodles). Oil companies are interested in producing cassava starch for drilling muds11. Textile industries, although not currently using local cassava starch negotiations are currently underway between the Government, cassava processors and the textile industry. Finally, paper mills such as Iwopin Paper Mill in Ogun State and Okui Ibokwe Paper Mill in Akwa Ibom State may also patronize cassava starch in the near future12
 
Although no one can know the likelihood that these prospective buyers will actually purchase, their efforts to search out information on cassava processing fabrication offers hope. Their slowness to invest however may be a symptom of uncertainty regarding future government policy directions, uncertainty in being able to produce competitively and uncertainty in their ability to source cassava roots. As illustrated in the Peak example, cassava processing is vulnerable to many conditions – market vagaries, trade policy, product substitution, and adverse environmental impacts, to name a few.
 
The ability (or inability) to source a reliable stream of good quality cassava roots is also a real concern for cassava processors. Problems relating to sourcing cassava roots are a serious deterrent for industrialists as described in the following example of the Mosaconi Cassava Factory in Kogi. The Mosaconi Cassava factory was a large operation that utilized raw cassava from farmers for the production of packaged gari and laundry starch for local markets. It began operations in 1993 but closed in 1999. Before the establishment of the factory, the community used cheap cassava for the production of local staple foods like lafun and gari. When the company began, it patronized all cassava growers in the state and bought most of the cassava from their farms. This resulted in a scarcity of cassava and a higher selling price for smaller local processors. As local cassava prices rose, public complaint by the local people surfaced that the presence of the factory was increasing the price of lafun. This resulted in host of problems such as pilfering, administration fraud, and use of poor land, lack of adequate accurate information and vandalism of factory equipment. The factory suffered as a result and faced a shortage of cassava for its operation. Since the factory had no farm of its own, it tried to solicit cassava growers to supply cassava into the factory through radio and television jingles. This only encouraged cassava growers to truncate the maturity of planted cassava, selling cassava of less than eight months old. After many unsuccessful attempts at troubleshooting, the owner was forced to close down the company. Clearly if cassava processing is to mature in Nigeria these types of deterrents must be resolved.
 
Source: Cassava Industrial Revolution in Nigeria, IFAD, FAO.
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#2
I think only the govt can look into processing and solve the inherent problems involve. Let's see what Buhari's administration will do.
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