Ondo State Chairman of Cassava Growers Association, Mr Fela Olorunmodimu has disclosed that 6,400 hectares of land would be required for the cultivation of cassava to feed the proposed ethanol factory in the state.
He made the disclosure while speaking with The Hope in Akure, on the level of the preparedness of the Association, in ensuring that the factory does not experience dearth of the major raw material.
According to him, such considerable land is required to grow cassava for commercial purpose and to meet the demand of the factory, adding that about 150,000 metric tonnes will be needed annually for the project .
Olorunmodimu said over 5,000 cassava farmers particularly youths in the state are being restructured in the new planting season to meet the 350 metric tonnes per day requirement of the factory.
The chairman, who said agreement between the factory and his association is already on to ensure they plant according to the time table of the usage of the factory, stressed that the association is very much involved in the project.
“This project is like an answered prayer because where to sell our cassava has been a major challenge but now we bless God that Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu is bringing up this laudable project at this time.
” We are fully ready, we have all our farmers across the 18 local government areas of the state. We have well over 5,000 cassava farmers who have gone into cultivation because of the factory.
“And around April, we will be harvesting.I am quite sure that between 150 and 200 metric tonnes will be given to us to supply.
“And to ensure we meet the 350 metric tonnes per day requirement, we are restructuring our farmers particularly our youth farmers in this new planting season to cultivate according to the time table of the usage of the project. So we are very much in touch with the factory”, he explained.
Olorunmodimu who assured that finance will not be a problem said “on our own part, we are partnering with the Federal Government and the Central Bank of Nigeria to ensure that we have the Anchor Borrowers Programme for our farmers”.
“The state government still has a lot to do by providing enabling environment for farmers such as considerable land.
“So we really need government to do agricultural land clearing so that we can have enough land to cultivate.
“We also need machineries like tractors. If you look at the whole state, I don’t think we have up to 10 tractors. So we need tractors, planters, harvesters among others. If we have land and machineries are given to us then we can prepare our land”, he stressed.
The chairman assured that the demand for cassava by the factory will not result in food insecurity in the state but may lead to increase in the price of cassava products.
“Although, the price of cassava products like garri, pupuru will jump up but definitely it will be available. It is an opportunity for cassava farmers to smile.
“If you look at the price of garri and you compare it with the price of foods like beans, rice, you will discover that garri is very low.