Dr Ikechi Kelechi AGBUGBA, PhD (Nig.) Postdoc (UFH, SA)
Facilitator, School of Agribusiness Management, Rome Business School (Nigerian Campus), GRA, Ikeja, Lagos State
Senior Research Fellow, Africa Agriculture Agenda, (Arm of the Surveillance Media Ltd), Lekki, Phase 1, Lagos State
Lecturer, Department of Agricultural & Applied Economics, Rivers State University, Port Harcourt, Nigeria
Cassava production has been increasing for the past 20 or more years in area cultivated and in yield per hectare. It is regarded as the world’s most important food crops with an annual output of over 34 million tonnes of tuberous roots (FAO Database, 2005). On average, the harvested land area was over 80% higher during 1990–1993 than during 1974–1977 (Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, 2006; Morgera et al., 2012). Throughout the tropics, its roots and leaves provide essential calories and income. Africa is one of the continents of the world where some 600 million people are dependent on cassava for food (IFAD, 2013). Cassava is produced largely by small-scale farmers using rudimentary implements. The average land-holding is less than two hectares and for most farmers’ land and family labour remain the essential inputs. Land is held on a communal basis, inherited or rented; cases of outright purchase of land are rare. Capital is a major limitation in agriculture; only few farmers have access to rural credit. Almost all the cassava produced is used for human consumption and less than 5 per cent is used in industries. However, it should be noted that cassava per capita consumption is very high and provides about 80 per cent of the total energy intake of many Nigerians. As a food crop, cassava fits well into the farming systems of the smallholder farmers in Nigeria because it is available all year round, thus providing household food security. Compared to grains, cassava is more tolerant to low soil fertility and more resistant to drought, pests and diseases (Ani & Agbugba, 2017).
Nigeria is the largest producer of cassava tubers in the world with average annual production of about 35 million MT over the last 5 years. Cassava roots store well in the ground for months after maturity (Ope-Ewe et al., 2011). Its production industry in Nigeria is increasing at 3% every year but Nigeria continues to import starch, flour, sweeteners that can be made from cassava. This paradox is due to how cassava is produced, processed, marketed, and consumed in Nigeria, in a largely subsistence to semi-commercial manner. About one-third of the total national output comes from the Niger Delta region where many livelihoods depend on cassava as a main source of food and income. It has been estimated that the number of small commercially oriented cassava producers within the region would be in the range of 70,000- 120,000 (out of the more than 1 million producers) and over 400-500 cooperatives and cottage industries, 800,000-950,000 traders, 46 small medium processing industries and 1 large processing industry in the region (Cassava Report Final, 2013).
Apart from livestock feeds, processed cassava serves as industrial raw material for the production of adhesives bakery products, dextrin, dextrose glucose, lactose and sucrose. Dextrin is used as a binding agent in the paper and packing industry and adhesive in cardboard, plywood and veneer binding. Food and beverage industries use cassava products derivatives in the production of jelly caramel and chewing gum, pharmaceutical and chemical industries also use cassava alcohol (ethanol) in the production of cosmetics and drugs. The products also find ready use in the manufacture of dry cell, textiles and school chalk etc. Cassava cubes are used mainly in the compounding of livestock feeds. Thus there is a very high demand for cassava products in both local and export markets (Foundation for Partnership Initiatives in the Niger Delta, Foundation for Partnership Initiatives in the Niger Delta, PIND, 2011).
In Nigeria, cassava has moved from a food crop to a cash crop produced on an industrial scale and even exported. The introduction of new high-yield cassava varieties and improved farming techniques has led to a boom in production. Success is often said to bring new challenges. Cassava is one of the major sources of energy and the multiplicity of its use makes it indispensable for food security (National Technical Working Group, 2009). Several constraints affect cassava processing which limit the contribution that the crop makes to the nation’s economy. Cassava is important, not just as a food crop but even more so as a major source of cash income for producing households (FAO, 2011). As a cash crop, cassava generates cash income for the largest number of households, in comparison with other staples, contributing positively to poverty alleviation with other staples, contributing positively to poverty alleviation. As a food crop, cassava fits well into the farming systems of the smallholder farmers in Nigeria because it is available all year round, thus providing household food security. Hence, efficiency in cassava marketing is an important determinant of both consumers’ living cost and producers’ income and the potentials of cassava marketing to agricultural and overall economic development cannot be overemphasized (Obisesan, 2013).
There are already contractual arrangements between producers and processors for its supply (Bissdorf, 2009). However, the growth in cassava production in Nigeria has been primarily due to rapid population growth, large internal market demand, complemented by the availability of high yielding improved varieties of cassava, a relatively well developed market access infrastructure, the existence of improved processing technology and a well-organized internal market structure (Onyinbo et al. 2011). The Federal Government’s policy of including cassava flour in bread and other confectioneries to substitute wheat flour has presented great opportunities for investors and farmers alike. Basic tools used in garri are also used in flour production. However, several constraints affect cassava processing which limit the contribution of the crop to the development of Nigeria’s economy (Ntawuruhunga, 2010).
Industrial utilization of cassava products is increasing but this accounts for less than 5% of the total production (PIND, 2011). However, simply boosting production without proper boosting of its marketing can lead to a glut of cassava on the market. This can depress prices and discourage farmers from investing in and cultivating this fundamental crop (IFAD, 2013). Marketing can pose a problem for poor farmers who may not have resources to transport their commodities to the market, especially those living in villages with poor feeder roads. Typically farmers transport their farm produce to the market on heads as head loads, on bicycles or in lorries. With poor market access, marketing of cassava can be particularly problematic because of its bulky nature, especially if it is not processed (Cassava Report Final, 2013).
Products derived from cassava include: garri, starch, tapioca, fufu, pellets, flour and chip. It has been eaten for centuries in various ways by indigenous people and continues to be a staple in local diets. The freshly harvested boiled tubers are eaten as the main starch at a meal, added to soups, used as base for other dishes or fried as chips or snack crisp (Titus et al., 2011). Survey of cassava utilization found out that 70%, 15%, 10% and 5%5%, 10% and 5% of farmers respectively make garri, starch, fufu and tapioca from cassava. However, this paper concentrated on products derived from cassava roots which are: garri, chips and flour. Garri is a cassava derivative which is described as cream white granular flour with slightly fermented and slightly sour taste made from fermented gelatinized fried cassava tubers. It processing involves certain units of operation. Cassava chips are another product from cassava, which is widely consumed in South-eastern part of Nigeria. The chips can either be consumed after it has been sliced and left to ferment for few days or consumed after mixture with palm oil, some amount of spices and vegetables. Cassava flour is yet another derivative which results after cassava chips are grounded and either used for mixing fufu or used in bakeries as flour in making bread and other snacks for consumption (Federal Government of Nigeria/United Nations Industrial Development Organisation, 2006; Azih, 2008). The increase in the processing, marketing and consumption of cassava products means that there are increased marketing opportunities for farmers (Titus et al., 2011).
Cassava is produced mostly by smallholder farmers on marginal or sub-marginal lands of the humid and sub-humid tropics (FAO, 2002). Such smallholder agricultural systems as well as other aspects of its production and use often create problems, including: the unreliability of supply, uneven quality of products, low producer prices, and an often costly marketing structure. The smallholder production system also implies that producers cannot bear much of the risk associated with the development of new products and markets. Thus, the challenge is to create a strategy that affects production, processing, and marketing in such a way that they provide an array of high quality products at reasonable prices for the consumer, while still returning a good profit for the producers without requiring them to assume the largest part of the development risk (Ani & Agbugba, 2017).
Marketing Channel of Cassava Derivatives
Marketing channel is the sequence of intermediaries or middlemen and marketers through which goods pass from producers to consumers. Processed cassava products are moved from the producers to the consumers through marketing channel as shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1: Diagram showing the Cassava Derivative Marketing Channel
Investment in Marketing of the Cassava Derivatives (Returns per ₦10,000.00)
Returns per naira of investment in the cassava derivatives were evaluated by computing the rate of investment for each of the processed cassava derivative that was produced and marketed by the respondents to get the net income which was divided by the total cost. The item associated with the variable cost of the enterprise include: cost of fresh tuber, cost of transportation, cost of firewood, cost of palm oil, total cost which are frying pans, sieves, machetes, sack bags, knives, basins, wooden stares and frying spoons. The straight-line method was used in calculating the depreciated values of the equipment used.
Results show that 500kg of cassava tubers was used to produce garri which costs about ₦10,000 at average price of ₦250 per kg. The labour cost was ₦4,400; s the depreciation of the equipment used was ₦850 giving a total cost of ₦17,550. The total revenue was ₦31,200, while the profit was ₦13,350. For chips processing, ₦10,000 (5000kg) worth of cassava tubers was processed into chips at the average price of ₦250 per kg with the labour cost of ₦4,600 and depreciation of equipment used at ₦1,180.
The total cost incurred by the processors was ₦17,500 with total revenue of ₦30,000. The processor made a profit of ₦12,500.
On the other hand, in flour processing, the table showed that ₦10,000 (5000kg) worth of cassava tuber was used to produce cassava flour at the average price of ₦250 per kg. The respondent incurred a depreciation of ₦925. The total cost was ₦30,500, while the profit was ₦14,425. The survey also indicated that labour cost and cassava tuber constituted the highest amount spent in the processing business, while the depreciation cost was the least. However, from the result it is interpreted that cassava processing business is worth embarking upon based on the result from the return per naira of investment. The return per naira of investment on the processing of ₦10,000 worth of cassava tuber into different derivatives gave 7.8 kobo for garri, 9 kobo for flour and 7.1kobo for chips. This implied that for every ₦1 invested in garri, flour and chip processing, it yielded the sum of 7.8 kobo, 9 kobo and 7.1 kobo respectively. Also, various economic analysis carried out by researchers have indicated that cassava processing is a profitable business venture. In the study area, the cassava farmer was advised to invest more cash in flour processing business.
Associated Processing and Marketing Constraints of Cassava Derivatives
Cassava processing and its marketing are faced with a lot of bottlenecks which limit the ability of the processors to improve their processing activities; reduce their level of participation and marketing of products; and consequently, retard the expansion on investment on the processing business. The major constraint to cassava processing and marketing includes: inadequate finance, lack of processing facilities, high of labour, marketing problems such as poor infrastructure; high of transportation and inadequate storage facilities.
Government as well as private sectors’ indispensable role in the study area in providing cassava processors access to resources needed to acquire and maintain innovations cannot be over emphasized. Credit facilities, appropriate energy sources and trained personnel should be made available within reach to processors and marketers of cassava and its derivatives. The Federal Government of Nigeria should identify and create widespread national awareness of the alternative industrial and non-food uses of cassava through advertisement in electronic and all relevant media awareness creation through trade fares and other interaction. Finally, market opportunities can be fully developed through provision of adequate infrastructures such as good roads, pipe borne water, modern market and processing centres, as well as efficient transport and communication system. Such development will boost both domestic and export market for garri, flour and chips as well as other processed cassava products.
Findings from the study showed that increase in the economic activities of cassava means an increase in the marketing opportunities for the farmers. Hence, marketing of cassava derivatives (garri, chip and flour) is a profitable business venture in the study area. The need therefore, arises to step up its processing and expand this industry as this will create greater opportunities for income generation for the rural populace, as well as achieve the target of the presidential initiative on cassava production and export. In other words, the enterprise should be encouraged by the government to use improved processing techniques which eliminates drudgery, wastefulness and low productivity associated with traditional processing.
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