The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has announced that Nigeria imports cassava products valued at about $600 million annually.
The CBN Governor, Professor Godwin Emefiele, on Tuesday, made this disclosure at a meeting with governors of cassava-producing states at the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
At the event, where the Central Bank put pen to paper on a Memorandum of Understanding with the Nigeria Cassava Growers Association and Large Scale Cassava Processors, the Governor of the Apex Bank, Emefiele, explained that while the country is blessed with several varieties of cassava that could be explored to optimum potential, we still rely heavily on the importation of cassava produce.
He further announced that there was an urgent need to adopt improved varieties and practices that would help guarantee better yield, better processing efficiency, increased profit and improved standard of living for the farmers.
The CBN governor also revealed that consultations were ongoing with the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture, Ibadan, and the National Root Crops Research Institute, Umudike, to help reach the country's goal of being a local producer of cassava products.
According to Emefiele, if there is an increase in cassava production, it would serve as a necessary food product. Apart from foreign exchange conservation like starch, glucose, sorbitol, other products were being imported.
“Statistics show that out of the 53.0 million metric tonnes of cassava produced in Nigeria annually, more than 90 percent gets processed into food for human consumption.
“Whereas a significant industrial demand exists for the output of processed cassava, primarily as substitutes for imported raw materials and semi-finished products,” Emefiele said.