CASSAVA SUBSECTOR ROUND TABLE
OGUN STATE MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE, ABEOKUTA, 7TH JUNE, 2017
Senior level representatives from five (5) agribusiness companies, two (2) financial institutions and the Ogun State Ministry of Agriculture, all numbering twenty six (26) met at Abeokuta, Ogun State for the first (1st) sub-national Cassava Subsector Round table. Hosted by the Ogun State Ministry of Agriculture, the organisations represented were AFEX Nigeria, Allied Atlantic Distilleries, Flour Mills Nigeria Plc, Harvest Feeds & Agro Processing, Thai Farms, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and The Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL). Also in attendance were some staff and political appointees of Ogun State Ministry of Agriculture, including Directors of departments, heads of programmes, the Permanent Secretary, Special Assistants to the Governor on Agriculture and the Honourable State Commissioner for Agriculture.
The high exchange rate and scarcity of foreign exchange has overtime increased the cost of importation of raw materials into the country, while forcing companies to look inwards, as well as engage in backward integration. Against this backdrop, stakeholders in the cassava subsector met to discuss these current challenges cum opportunities.
In closing the huge demand-supply gap in the cassava value chain, the objectives of the round table were:
- to articulate the responsibilities of the State Government.
- to understand the expectations of the private sector and agree on their responsibilities.
- to present the different funding options available from the financial service providers.
PRESENTATIONS AND DISCUSSIONS
The first presentation was by the Director, Ogun State Cassava Revolution Programme (OGCRP). From her submission, over 90% of Ogun State’s farming population cultivate cassava, largely subsistence, on an estimated land size of 303,722Ha with an average yield of 17.29 per Ha and estimated output of about 5.4 million MT. Annual current industrial demand of cassava in Ogun State is 300,900MT but current supply is 85,200MT, leaving a shortfall of 215,700MT. About 90% of the cassava produced in the State is consumed locally or sold to food markets outside the State. Competition for cassava by both the food market and industry forces the price up. Other presentations were made by the Senior Manager, CBN and the Executive Director, NIRSAL.
Following these presentations, specific observations were pointed out by stakeholders and the following deliberations emanated:
- Private sector opined that the current key requirement of the state is to provide cleared land to cultivate cassava.
- The seasonality of availability of tubers should be part of the key gaps to be closed. In other words, cassava tubers should be available all year round. The house agreed that staggered planting should be adopted.
- Young people should be incentivised to get involved in cassava cultivation as the farming workforce is ageing.
- Local Governments in the State should be more actively engaged to get involved in cassava cultivation.
- Milestones should be set by the state to achieve her vision for the cassava subsector.
- Ogun state government should succinctly highlight the roles the private sector is expected to play in the cassava value chain.
- Ogun state government should provide a mechanism to forestall side selling by farmers, which will help uphold and support contract enforcement, especially for the Anchor Borrower’s Programme.
- Cassava Subsector Round table should be a quarterly meeting to resolve issues, review achievements and agree next steps.
After all deliberations, the under listed were agreed upon:
Commitments from the State Government:
- Assist with land clearing for a fee. The state is targeting two thousand (2000) hectares of cleared land for cassava in 2018.
- Strengthen cassava growers association.
- Incentivise more youth to go into farming.
- Uphold and support contract enforcement.
Commitments from the Private Sector:
- Payments for inputs, extension services and harvest.
- More involvement in research & development (R&D).
- Possibility of commitment to ABP based on individual company considerations.
Mrs Adepeju Adebajo
Hon State Commissioner for Agriculture
Ogun State Ministry of Agriculture