According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Nigerian cassava production is by far the largest in the world. In 2002, the Nigerian cassava production was estimated at 34 million tonnes. This means that in comparison with the output of other crops, cassava is the first and the best on the Nigerian list; followed by yam and sorghum production at 27 million tonnes and 7 million tonnes respectively(2002).
Cassava is produced in virtually all parts of Nigeria especially in the North Central and South East states. It is a staple Nigerian food. The best part of cassava production is that it is not just food but a source of producing other foods. For instance, it can be processed into flours which are used in cooking, baking or making pastries. From cassava, garri, another staple Nigerian food is produced. It is a multi-purpose crop that is useful in making beverages, animal feed, laundry starch and in remedying certain health conditions.
In the spirit of diversifying the economy, the Nigerian government has set off the motion to develop her readily available natural resources. Be it in the food sector or other wise. Just like they are making revivals in the national dairy industry, the government is decisively on course to explore cassava production for the good of the people and the economy.
Representing the Nigerian minister of agriculture and rural development Mr. Audu Ogbeh, Heineken Lokpobiri in an official occasion concurs that Nigeria has become the largest producer of cassava in the world. According to him, about 35 improved varieties of cassava have been developed and registered in Nigeria.
“These varieties had increased the production of cassava to make Nigeria the largest producer of cassava in the world with an annual output of 54 million metric tons.”
Thus, the government implores flour mills to use up to 10% of cassava flours in place of wheat flours, to boost a patriotic attitude towards the economy. The idea is to grow a self-sufficient economy that can sustain the basic food needs of the people.
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Did you know that Nigeria produces triple the cassava produced in Brazil and “almost” a double of those produced in Indonesia and Thailand? Around Africa, it is largely produced as well in Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, Madagascar, Mozambique, Tanzania and Uganda. It grows in the tropical regions of the world.