China is to establish a cassava processing plant in Nigeria to promote the market value chain of the tuber.
Mr John Wen, Manager in the Marketing Department, Green Agriculture West Africa Limited (GAWAL), said this on the sideline of a training on cassava processing in Abuja on.
Wen said the project, which would be completed by the end of September, was being implemented by the Chinese Academy of Tropical Agricultural Sciences (CATAS).
He said that the academy was under the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs and was handling the project in collaboration with GAWAL.
“CATAS now is establishing a cassava processing mill in Abuja and once this plant is put in place we will process cassava in Nigeria.
“Hopefully, before the end of September, we will install all the equipment in the plant.”
Wen said this would be the first phase of the project which would be expanded in future based on the market’s response to the finished cassava products.
He also said that the training was being organised by CATAS for Nigerian officials in the agriculture sector and would equip participants with skills to improve market value of cassava.
Mr Liu Haiquing, the Deputy Director of Division of International Cooperation, CATAS, said that cooperation on agriculture between the two countries was vital and in line with the China-Africa cooperation plans.
“This training course focuses on cassava processing and pepper cultivation and our academy focuses on tropic groups such as cassava, coffee, cashew nuts and we can find these in Nigeria.
“I am sure the training will offer a good platform for all the participants to exchange views and to share experiences in cassava processing with CATAS scientists.”
Liu said that the course included indoor training and practical classes.
One of the participants, Mr Paul Obasi, from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the course covered new techniques of cassava processing and disease management.
“The training has actually done a lot to the participants because the Federal Government is driving towards diversifying our economy from normal agriculture projects that we used to have, making agriculture a business.
“Cassava processing is one of the veritable tools which we can leverage on to diversify our economy, thus creating jobs, increasing foreign exchange and food security.”
Another participant, Mr Innocent Onyekwere, the Head of Station, National Root Crop Research Institute, said that the training was in line with the mandate of promoting tuber and root crops of the institute.
Onyekwere said that the institute wanted to partner with CATAS in cassava processing and exporting finished products to China.
“We have bred and released more than 46 varieties of cassava including the vitamin A cassava and we have developed agronomical packages for the same varieties.
“We want to see how we can collaborate with CATAS and the institute where they can assist technology wise and we can also supply cassava needed by their industries.”