Nigeria’s new policies in favor of the production of High Quality Cassava Flour (HQCF)
The transformation of Nigerian agriculture is the major cornerstone of the agenda of the new Government of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. The agricultural transformation agenda recognizes the need to create jobs, diversify the national economy and reduce the drain on natural wealth by importation of locally available food items. The transformation agenda is seen as imperative for the national security. A real shift has been made to realize the previous government inclusion act on cassava flour.
To enable a sustainable and effective transformation there is need to change the traditional farming system and not the individual farmer by developing a sustainable upstream sector, which involves building the capacities of farmers as well as introducing new improved technologies. At the start of the project, this transformation was not possible due to the lack of a viable market for DADTCO’s HQCF. This is notwithstanding previous government incentives for cassava flour inclusion in wheat flour as the market players did not encouraged past government objectives. Thanks to the New Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, a real shift has been made to realize these government objectives of 40% HQCF inclusion in wheat flour.
As of November 2011, FMN the major miller (Flour Mills of Nigeria) with a market share of close to 40%, has started buying High Quality Cassava Flour produced by DADTCO for the two wheat mills in Lagos and Kano. It is anticipated that further legal measures will be taken by this government to oblige the market to utilize Nigerian’s HQCF potential and to replace 40% of wheat flour with HQCF.
Cassava is a key element of the Government’s Agricultural Transformation Action Plan as Nigeria is the largest producer of cassava in the world and yet contributes zero percent in terms of value addition in global trade. The Cassava Transformation Plan calls for expanding cassava production from 34 million MT to 51 million MT by 2015, doubling yields from 12.5 MT to 25 MT per ha and generating an additional 1.2 million jobs. patterns in a sustainable way. This demands big changes in the way farmers practice crop husbandry and at the same time it creates huge opportunities. Today only1% HQCF is available to replace wheat flour.