The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) hosted different stakeholders in the cassava value chain in Nigeria as it works on developing the sector in the country. Stakeholders included a team from IITA comprising IITA-Abuja Head of Station Tarawali Gbassey, ATASP-1 Cassava Commodity Specialist Richardson Okechukwu, and Akinyemi Ibikunle of the IITA GoSeed team. The meeting, which included the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) by the different parties, took place at the CBN Head Office in Abuja on 21 November.
Governor Godwin Emefiele of the CBN attended the event along with delegates from cassava producing states such as Governor of Ekiti State Dr Kayode Fayemi and Governor Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu, SAN of Ondo State. Other participants were the Deputy Governors of Ogun State, Chief Mrs Yetunde Onanuga and Oyo State, Engr Rauf Olaniyan.
The CBN facilitated the signing of the MOU between the Nigeria Cassava Growers’ Association (NCGA), Cassava Stem Producers, and Large-scale Cassava Processors to guarantee steady off-take and processing of cassava in Nigeria. The CBN will be collaborating with IITA to provide quality cassava stems of improved varieties to cassava farmers and to conduct training for Agricultural Development Programs (ADPs) in the 36 states of Nigeria.
In remarks made during the event, Emefiele said, “We included cassava in the FX exclusion list to salvage the industry, encourage farmers to go back to their farms to boost job creation, and increase output and improve the capacity utilization of our processing companies.” He pledged to support the NCGA at the production level under the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) as he expects this to increase farmers’ productivity and income.
Processors across Nigeria that are leveraging cassava for production attended the event during which the CBN expressed their interest in cassava processing and promised to support Large-scale Cassava Processors under the Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme (CACS) and Differentiated Cash Reserves Requirement (DCRR) programs. The CBN Governor stated that CBN and other stakeholders, including IITA, are to participate in the development of the framework for modern production and processing of cassava by tackling challenges in the cassava value chain.
Governments of the cassava-producing states in Nigeria and other stakeholders were encouraged by Emefiele to work together to resuscitate Nigeria’s cassava sector. He reiterated the need for all stakeholders to cooperate in creating 10 million jobs through agriculture to ease the unemployment rate in Nigeria.