Minister of State of Agriculture and Rural Development, Heineken Lokpobiri, who represented the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, has said the country is now the largest producer of cassava in the world with an annual output of 45 million metric tons.
Lokpobiri, speaking at the sideline of the official launch of the State Partnership for Agriculture, organised by Synergos in Nigeria in collaboration with the Ministry and Bill and Melinda Foundation (BMGF), in Abuja. He said that more than 35 improved varieties of cassava had been developed and registered in Nigeria.
His words: “These varieties had increased the production of cassava to make Nigeria the largest producer of cassava in the world with an annual output of 45 million metric tons.”
According to him, flour mills are being encouraged to substitute at least 10 per cent high quality cassava flour for wheat flour.
He commended Master Bakers for their positive response to government’s policy towards this direction.
Lokpobiri said that Federal Government would sustain its demand for inclusion of high quality cassava flour in bread in the country.
Meanwhile, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is collaborating with the Federal Government to train major service providers in key cocoa producing states on vegetative propagation, to address the dearth of planting materials.
The industry is faced with low productivity at less than 350 tonnes/hectare, and needs cocoa seedlings to cultivate much-needed new cocoa plantations.
According to experts, investments in new plantations are required to replace and expand existing cocoa estates, most of which were cultivated in the pre-independence era.