Lagos — Federal government has commissioned Garri processing project of the Common Fund for Commodities at Mada Village in Lafia, Nasarawa state.
Commissioning the project recently, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Dr. Abubakar Muhammad, who represented the Minister, Senator Jubril Martins-Kuye said, the importance of the project cannot be over emphasized, particularly at this period of dwindling prices of raw export commodities.
He said processing of cassava to any derivative add tremendous value, enhances competitiveness and also reduces waste, which will attract premium price in the market both locally and internationally.
He said, the project site will serve as poverty alleviation and avenue to empower the people, especially women around the village as well farmers who plant cassava.
The Minister said, government was willing to support stakeholders in the commodity sub-sector by providing all the necessary facilities that may be required to enhance production and productivity, adding that government was not unaware of the problems that stakeholders in the industry are passing through as a result of shortage of infrastructure such as electricity, water, good road network, lack of access to effective farming and processing equipment.
He stressed that government has intention of coming up with more processing factories that can also process other food products, adding that the cassava processing plant that has dual purposes can also process yam into yam flour.
Kuye charged private sectors in the cassava sub-sector, state and local government to embark on similar project to complement efforts of the federal government in order to absorb the value of cassava being produced in the country.
The Minister thanked the Common Fund for Commodity (CFC) for graciously granting Nigeria the cassava project as well as positive support of the Ministry's technical partners, Farm and Infrastructure Foundation (FIF) and the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture, (IITA), the project executing agency for the relentless efforts towards the success of the project.
In his remarks, the Project Coordinator of Cassava Value Chain Development in West Africa, Processor Lateef Sanni (IITA) pointed out that the project approach was to strengthen farmers, processors and marketers of cassava and cassava products through the introduction of appropriate technologies.
He assured that International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the Federal Ministry of Commerce and Industry (FMC&I) and Farming and Infrastructure Foundation (FIF) will continue to ensure uninterrupted access to high yielding diseases resistant cassava cultivations effective hygiene practice, equipment maintenance, enterprise management training as well as market linkages.
Earlier, the Head of Anguwan Mada Village Women Association, Mrs. Talatu Usman had thanked the federal government and their partners for citing the project in their village, assuring government that the site will be properly managed.