Gov. Yahaya Bello of Kogi says the state is producing over four million metric tonnes of cassava out of the 58 million produced nationwide annually.
The governor disclosed this at the inauguration ceremony of the “Cassava City Day” in Lokoja, with theme: “Exploring the Treasures of Cassava Crop”, organised by Kogi Agriculture Development Project (ADP).
Bello, who was represented by the state’s Commissioner of Agriculture, Mr Kehinde Oloruntoba, reiterated his commitment to transforming agriculture in Kogi with emphasis on cassava.
“Kogi is the leading cassava producing state in Nigeria with production of 4 million MT per annum of the nation’s total of 58 million MT per annum.
“Many treasures abound in cassava crop and nothing is wasted from the leaves, stems and roots.
“Cassava products abound such as flour, chips, sweeteners, ethanol, starch, fufu, tapioca, abacha, garri and other industrial products,” he said.
The Managing Director of the ADP, Mr Oyisi Okatahi, said the Cassava City had become a reality and the concept would be replicated across Kogi with maize, rice in other cities.
According to Okatahi, the investors such as Contec Global, Geron Oil, Gas and Jil Farms, have all commenced work at the city site in Osara, Adavi LGA.
Okatahi enjoined all stakeholders to remain committed as the investors had ‘proof of capital’, saying government and the community’s equity in the investment would primarily be land.
“Cassava city is aimed at exploring opportunities and prospects of cassava production; it is the gateway to employment and prosperity in Kogi.”
He applauded the governor for his commitment and vision for agricultural sector in the state.
The Director of Contec Global, Dr Sashi Mozumder, said the company, in partnership with Geron Oil and Gas, Praj India and NNPC, would be producing 40,000 litres of bio-ethanol per day.
“The investment started up on a turn-key basis is 25 million dollars and the plant will employ over 2,500 people on a full time basis.
“Contec consortium will provide inputs to farmers who will serve as out-growers for the scheme, and also provide basic infrastructure such as rural roads, power and health centres,” mozumder said.
Mr Qosim Odewale, a representative of NIRSAL in Kogi, said the agency had already verified over 240 farmers for the cassava city who would access the Enhanced Anchor Borrowers Programme.
The State Project Coordinator (SPC) APPEALS Projects, Dr Sanni Ozomata, said the World Bank project would support the city in terms of infrastructure and value addition.
The SPC Fadama, Mr Paul Ogunmola, said that Fadama had cultivated 2,500 hectares of cassava with mechanisation and best practices, saying the knowledge would be transferred to the cassava city.
Many stakeholders at the programme took turns to express their interest in the cassava city, and pledged the commitment of their various organisations to the project.
Other stakeholders include CBN, JIL Farmers, UNICANE and Crest Agro, Geron Oil and Gas, NNPC.