The Department for International Development’s programme, Market Development for Niger Delta (MADE) yesterday started a two-day workshop to build the capacity of livestock feed manufactures in Ondo State to enable them produce quality feeds from cassava grits.
While addressing the press in Akure, MADE’s Team Leader, Mr. Tunde Oderinde, said the workshop which was organised in conjunction with HarvestPlus and International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) was expected to build capacity of processors to produce quality cassava grits which meet the requirement of feeds manufacturers.
Oderinde said the use of Cassava grits by livestock feeds manufacturers in the Niger Delta region would cut the cost of production of the feeds.
He said Cassava was known to produce 250,000 calories/hectare/day compared to 200,000 for maize, 176,600 for rice, 114,000 for sorghum and 110,000 for wheat hence the choice of the crop.
Calling on processors to embrace Cassava based feeds; Oderinde said cassava-based feeds were currently cheaper than the maize-based feeds especially in the face of escalating price of Maize in Nigeria.
“Amazingly, 1 metric tonne of maize sold for N35,000-N40,000 last year now sells for N140,000 (About 250 per cent increase),” Oderinde explained.
He however said that the 2million Metric Tonnes (MT)of annual maize requirement by the poultry subsector of the economy could be substituted up to about 50 per cent by suitable cassava derivatives.
According to MADE’s Cassava Intervention Manager, Mr. Chyka Okarter , the preference for cassava grits by the poultry sub sector presents a potential opportunity for one million metric tonnes (MT) cassava grits supply into the poultry feeds sector.
Okarter said the opportunity offers market linkage to cassava farmers and processors in a sustainable manner.
He explained that the use of cassava peels and the under sized roots for livestock grit will present an additional income to the processors and thus offset the effect of high cost of cassava roots.
Okarter lamented that about 14 million tonnes of Cassava by-products, including peels and under-sized tubers are thrown away as waste annually because of the dearth of information and knowledge of the proper technology to produce cassava products of guaranteed quality that will meet the procurement requirements of the mills.
“It is therefore imperative, based on the current demand from the poultry subsector for investors to explore and achieve the right product for the industry and also sustain their commercial interests as well,”Okarter said.
The workshop is a follow up to an earlier one, which held in October , 2016, with focus on feed mills, livestock farmers, processors and producers (farmers) and the opportunities that abound in the poultry subsector with particular emphasis on cassava grits.