Herdsmen Hamper Cassava Bread Production

The Nigeria Cassava Growers Association (NCGA) has appealed to Federal Government to review the repayment plan of cassava bread development funds given to farmers.

Mr Segun Adewumi, the National President of the Association, made the appeal while speaking with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Wednesday.

He said that although part of the money was given to cassava farmers across the country to help boost cassava production, the assistance was marred as a result of farmers-herdsmen clashes.

Adewumi, who expressed regret that some farmers had yet to recoup the losses they incurred when their produce was destroyed by ravaging herdsmen, suggested the extension of loan repayment period.

“Government released money for us to plant but we couldn’t get market for our produce and the cassava processers who are meant to buy them did not do so, some of our produce rot away.

“Secondly, herdsmen also destroyed the farms of most of our members who took the loan and this has affected the loan repayment.

“We are recovering from the losses gradually but we are pleading with government to review the loan payment because most farmers lost a lot due to clashes.

“We learnt that the Federal Government is trying to revive the Cassava Bread Development Fund.

“Government should take its time to study how the fund worked to see how they can improve on it.

“There were a lot of hitches and start-up problems that need to be amended in the policy,’’ he said.

Adewumi moaned that the Federal Government had yet to commence the distribution of farm inputs to boost cassava cultivation during the wet season farming.

He, however, appealed to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to accommodate cassava farmers in its Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) so as to boost cassava production, especially in the forthcoming planting season.

“We have written to CBN and we have been appealing to our members to see how they can meet up with the conditions,’’ he said.

The Federal Government, under former President Goodluck Jonathan, in 2013 launched the N10 billion Cassava Bread Development Fund to boost cassava bread production.

The Cassava Bread Development Fund was funded through the tariff on wheat flour.

The Fund was also used to support research and development efforts on cassava bread, as well as training and support for master bakers in the acquisition of new equipment for cassava bread production


Poisonous Cassava: NAFDAC To Sensitise Farmers, Food Outlets In Kogi, Ondo

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) says arrangements are on to sensitive farmers in Kogi and Ondo on how to handle food chain from the farms to consumers’ table.

The NAFDAC Director, Special Duties, Dr Abubakar Jimoh, who spoke in Abuja on Sunday, said operators of fast food outlets in both states would also be trained.

Reports says that the sensitization is coming on the heels of the death of nine people after consuming “amala’’ meal made from poisonous cassava flour.
The incident occurred in Ogaminana, Adavi Local Government Area of Kogi state in November, 2016.

Jimoh explained that NAFDAC had carried out investigation into the incident with a view to addressing the problem.

He added that some people also consumed poisonous beans in some places.

Jimoh said the agency had taken statistics of farmers and operators of all food outlets in both states that would participate in a workshop to be organised by the agency.

According to him, they will be trained on how to handle critical aspects of food chain from the farms to consumers’ table.

“We shall train farmers on the best practices and the correct way of applying fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides and other chemicals for storage of their harvests.

“We will also teach farmers how to dry their produce because they often spread them on the express way where such are exposed to contamination and it is hazardous to the health of members of the public.

“Though, this is not part of the mandate of NAFDAC as we deal mainly with processed foods, but we cannot close our eyes in a matter that affects peoples’ health,’’ he said.