I hail from Ogboj town, a community in Anambra State, Nigeria. I was raised by parents who are civil servants/farmers; hence I have developed some experience in farm management. I also worked as a project staff in the consultancy outfit of my alma mater – FUTO Consult Ltd. My other experience runs across safety and business development. I have a B.Eng degree from Federal University of Technology Owerri. I am 29 years old.
Cassava is one of the world’s most important food crops, with annual global production at approximately 276 million metric tonnes (MT) in 2013. Nigeria is the world’s largest cassava producer, at an estimated 53 million metric tons in 2013. Despite the high cassava production output in Nigeria, only a very small fraction, less than 10% from studies is used for industrial consumption.
Ogboji is a town well known for production of root and tuber crops such as cassava, yam etc. The town has a vast area of arable land and farming is the main occupation of the inhabitants. This cassava farming project is estimated to produce 154 tons of fresh cassava tubers annually from cultivations of about 7 hectares on leased land.
Industrial and Commercial Uses of Cassava
Given its various uses and high starch content, cassava can be transformed into many important products. Cassava’s derivatives can be broadly grouped into four product types, namely: cassava chips, high quality cassava flour (HQCF), starch, and ethanol
Cassava Chips are commonly used for production of animal feeds domestically. It is also in high demand in countries like China where it is used for the production of bio-ethanol.
High-quality cassava flour (HQCF) is utilized sometimes alongside wheat flour for bread, biscuits, snacks and pasta.
Starch is used extensively in the food and beverage industry, including in the manufacture of culinary cubes, powdered drink products, and others. Starch is also utilized in the pharmaceutical, textile, adhesives and paper/corrugated board industries.
Ethanol is used largely in the spirit distilling industry. Nigeria now has the first ethanol production plant from cassava in Africa.
Cassava demand for commercial and industrial utilization is on the rise and with the recent government reforms and initiative to diversify the economy, the demand for fresh cassava tubers will soar in the near future.
Motivation for Project and Benefit for my Community
Entrepreneurship and economic diversification is the right way to go most especially now that oil price is on the very low side and a lot of job cut carried out by many firms and organisation. Part of the current reforms that should be taking place currently is for young people to venture into agri-businesses to create wealth, employment and food security.
Large expanse of arable land shall be leased for this project and a number people/organisation shall be engage through the life cycle of the project starting from farm site preparation, planting, pest and weed control, harvest and sales to industrial consumers.
Five thousand dollars ($5000) grant which is equivalent to ₦985,000 using the official exchange rate of ₦197/$ shall be allocated to the project as follow;
Land lease, hiring of tractors, labour cost, pesticide etc. from research, it is estimated that one hectare of land can be cultivated with ₦120,000.
Seven hectares of land will be cultivated with approximately ₦840,000.
The remaining ₦145,000 will cover logistics and miscellaneous expenses.
The life cycle of the project from cultivation to harvest is 12 calendar months.
It has been known that with proper farm management, one hectare of land can produce 22 tons of fresh cassava tubers. This implies that a total of 154 tons can be produced from seven hectares of land. Based on current market price, 1 ton of fresh cassava tubers go for ₦10,000. Therefore, the project has the potential of generating ₦1,540,000 in revenue.
Finally, the project is eco-friendly and has good return on investment.
Blogpost and picture submitted by Obiora Emenike Okafor (Nigeria) – obiora6139[at]gmail.com
Illustration courtesy: International Institute of Tropical Agriculture
The content, structure and grammar is at the discretion of the author only.
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