Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy and the world’s largest producer of cassava, imports many cassava products, including garri, a West African staple.
This was disclosed by Mofe Omotosho, a consultant with Patra Consult, a sales and agriculture training and consulting firm in Lagos.
Omotosho said Nigeria, the largest producer of cassava anywhere in the world, should not be importing any cassava product at all.
Speaking at a media training for Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), she said Nigeria does not place premium on value addition of its raw materials.
She said garri made in Togo is adjudged to be better than the one made in Nigeria, hence, many Nigerians opt for Togo’s garri, despite the tonnes of cassava being produced in Nigeria.
“We should focus on value chains where Nigeria has comparative advantage. A lot of crops, in areas where we are already strong in, we should try to improve them so that we can reap more from there,” the consultant said.
“We should also focus on using Agriculture to create jobs, to create wealth and ensure food security, food security is very key, because a nation that cannot feed itself is a good as…
“With all these foods that are being smuggled or imported into Nigeria, cancer is so prevalent now, and even experts do not know the cause.
“How are we not sure that it is all these food items that are being struggled or imported into Nigeria are some of the causes. In smuggling, you don’t have records, but if you we are self-sufficient in food production, all these will not be there.”
She added that a lot of spray starch being imported into the country could be produced locally if the Nigerian people and government place necessary premium on cassava value addition.