The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Sabo Nanono, has commissioned the cassava plant at Afam in Oyigbo Local Government Area of Rivers State.
He said the processing plant will address the challenges of value addition of the crop in the value chain sub sector.
Speaking during the commissioning on Thursday, Nanono, noted that the plant will also promote the adoption and use of 10% high quality cassava flour (HQCF) in bread and confectionery business, so as to reduce wheat importation and conserve foreign exchange earnings to meet other needs.
The minister said “Rivers State is among the Top 5 Cassava producing states. It is therefore of necessity and thoughtful on the part of government that cares for its farmers to embark on project of this nature that will enhance value addition and guarantee employment to the people.
“This factory when it is fully operational will be fed with output from 3,000 farmers within the farming communities as well as other farmers far and wide from neighbouring communities.”
He said “the processing plant will also cultivate thousands of hectares of Cassava to ensure uninterrupted supplies of raw materials. In all these arrangements, massive jobs will be created and over 20,000 farm families will earn income for enhanced livelihood and improved standard of living.
“This milestone achievement of the government of Rivers State will promote export substitution, job creation, economic diversification as well as food and nutrition security.
“This is in tandem with the agricultural policy put in place by the present Federal Government poised to build agribusiness ecosystem that will address the challenges in the agricultural sector in partnership with all stakeholders.”
He emphasized that the outcome of the continued use of this processing plant will lead to increased incomes, livelihood, ensure healthy cassava food processing activities and serve as a new page to achieve the desired result in the 10% cassava flour inclusion policy as well as food and nutrition security.
The minister commended the activities of Rivers State Government under the leadership of Governor Nyesom Wike, who has constructed the cassava plant as a contribution toward ensuring food security and value addition in the country.
In his remarks, Governor Wike stated that “the primary focus of his administration is to diversify the economy of the state from oil and gas to agricultural development by providing financial support and inputs to the smallholder farmers in the state.
The governor assured the people that state government would provide financial grants, seeds and inputs to the cassava smallholder farmers which would increase production, create more jobs and boost revenue.
In his goodwill message, the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, said that the CBN is committed to provide financially assist grants that would fast track growth in the Agricultural sector, which is in line with President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.