The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), yesterday, said it is injecting N25b into the cassava value chain this year.
The move, according to the Apex bank is to curb $600m spent on the importation of cassava derivatives into the country.
This is just as the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in the collaboration with the Federal Government has launched a revolutionary Development of the Cassava Value Chain.
The National Programme Coordinator, Value Chain Development Program (VCDP) Garba Bala, who spoke during the maiden National Dialogue on Cassava stated that about two years ago, a national dialogue on rice was held, which culminated in the massive production of rice, saying the aim is to see the same revolution in the cassava value chain.
He said under the VCDP, they are trying to ensure cassava is being processed beyond Gaari and fufu and ensure that the product is being produced for the big Pharmaceutical companies, spaghetti companies, and also the sanitiser companies.
A cassava expert in CBN Development Finance Department, Dr. Chinedu Zephaniah lamented that despite being the largest producer in the world, Nigeria is still importing cassava derivatives.
He said to change the narrative, “the CBN has decided to invest yearly in the cassava value chain, and this year alone we have invested N25b in the subsector.
He said,” So under the five-star agricultural financing programme, the bank is spending about N25b to fund cassava this year alone. And we intend to fund only contiguous plan in Kogi, Ebonyi, Cross River, Ekiti, and Ondo state.