MECHANIZED CASSAVA FARMING

 

Any nation or organization that aspires to active and sustainable cassava business must have large mechanized cassava farms for reliable and continuous source of cassava stock.

Nigeria is the home of cassava but other countries like Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Brazil etc. reap abundant incomes from cassava because they have mechanized farms that produce quantum outputs to meet industrial and other demands.

Cassava products are in very high demand all over the world for the production of various products and compounding of animal feeds. The advent of global warming has put cassava on the front burner as a prime raw material for the production of ethanol which does not emit carbon dioxide unlike fossil fuels. High cost of grains like corn has also made cassava chips preferred substitute for compounding animal feeds. The demand for cassava products is on the ascendancy and enquires flow in on daily bases from nooks and crannies of the world but we are handicapped because our farming systems are still rudimentary and based on peasant farmers that farm small holdings with hoes and knives.

 

The Highest Producer in the World
Nigeria produces over 41 million mt of cassava per annum making her the highest producer in the world. She does not earn the highest income from cassava because 70 percent of her output is consumed as food, leaving only 30 percent to be used as industrial raw materials. The only way to increase her quantity of processed cassava for export is to increase the output of her cassava tubers substantially through mechanized farming so as to have enough for food and enough to be processed for industries and for export.

 

 

The Urgent Need for Mechanized Cassava Farms
Nigeria is long over due for mechanized cassava farming because of her favourable conditions. The total area of the country is 923, 768sq.km and the land area is 910, 786sq.km. The water area is 13, 000sq.km and the available arable land is about 33.02 percent of the land area or 300, 553sq.km. With the exception of the arid far north, cassava grows in all parts of the country. What is required is the political will to embark on it and use it to create jobs and opportunities for the unemployed youths.

 

 

Advantages of Mechanized Cassava Farming

Mechanized farms are farms of about 100, 200, 300 – 500 hectares that are scattered all over the country to increase cassava output to about 91 million mt per year. This quantity will provide enough for local consumption and enough to be processed for industrial uses and for export. It will bring the prices down so that we can compete favourably with other countries and also create mass employment. Presently, our prices are higher than those of Thailand and Vietnam because they have massive plantations that apply economy of scale in their operations.
Over 60 percent of our population is made up of youths below the age of 30 years and most of them are either unemployed or under-employed. They are mostly university graduates who want to be engaged meaningfully. Any nation that toys with such a situation is inviting trouble. Our youths are restive and they are demonstrating it in various ways: arm rubbery, bank rubbery, kidnapping and all kinds of heinous crimes and outlandish behaviors that were unheard of before. Government has initiated various cassava programmes to ameliorate the situation like the cassava composite bread to scale down the import of wheat grains and upscale the use of cassava flour in local bread, export of one million mt of cassava chips to China. These have not been fully realized because the mechanism and even enough tubers are not available to fully actualize them. When we operate large scale mechanized farms, jobs will be created and our youths will be involved massively in the operations and restiveness will be reduced. China wants over a million mt of our chips for ethanol and other uses, Europe wants another million and USA another million for animal feeds but we are overwhelmed because we do not have the capacity in form of massive mechanized farms to produce enough tubers.

 

 

 

The Bane of Most Developing Countries
The bane of most developing countries is petroleum. They concentrate too much on it as a quick fix for their economics. Oil is too elitist because it enriches the elites and impoverishes the grass roots. It does not create employment for the people because most of the jobs are monopolized by the foreign oil companies and the elites under the guise that they are “high tech jobs”. Oil exploration and drilling degrade the environment, pollute the air, the soil and the water and subject the people to acid rains and health incapacity.

Oil creates destructive dichotomy between the poor and the rich and puts a wedge between them thereby creating the atmosphere for corruption, restiveness, upheavals, incisive protests and riots.

 

 

The panacea for any focused nation is to invest in human capital and agriculture through meaningful engagement with the youths and not allowing them to waste in restiveness and subversion. A country with such massive landmass, well watered, good weather, rain and sunshine all the year round must invest massively in agriculture through large scale mechanized farming. To do otherwise is to invite anarchy and perpetual under-development.

Our cassava is needed all over the world, let’s produce it massively and use it to engage our youths and have peace and prosperity in our land.

 

 

Continue >>