Ogun State Government has expressed its readiness to collaborate with development partners in the area of mechanised cassava production and its value chains.
The government explains that the partnership is a way of diversifying the economic base of the state in southwest Nigeria.
The expression of interest was communicated by the Secretary to the State Government, Mr Taiwo Adeoluwa, who represented the State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun, at a workshop on mechanised cassava production.
The government informed the gathering that there was a provision in the 2017 Budget for the opening up of about 1,000 hectares of farmlands for cassava farming in the state.
The training which took place on Tuesday in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital brought together agriculture experts and development partners from Asia, sub-Saharan Africa and the United States.
Some experts, Enorck Chikava and Adebayo Sangobiyi, raised concerns over the best practices in commercial and mechanised cassava production and agro-processing, stressing the need to ensure that such engagements sustain grow and develop the nation’s economy.
They also addressed some of the challenges facing the sector with a view to exploring some of the available options such as effective government intervention, more funds for research and development as well as improved seedlings among others.
Economy In Recession
Nigeria is the highest cassava producer in the world with at least 50 million metric tonnes per year.
However, the output per unit is very low as a result of the numerous challenges grappling with the agriculture sector, one of which is the recession in Africa’s most populated country.
While the government is making effort to address the economic challenges, a World Economic Outlook report released by the International Monetary Fund had predicted that the Nigerian economy would grow by 0.6% in 2017.
The report revealed that Nigeria’s real Gross Domestic Product was expected to increase marginally by 0.6% with Consumer Prices rising by 17.1%, effectively lifting the country out of an officially declared recession.
Attacks On Oil Facilities
The recession was triggered by the drop in the price of crude oil and the attacks on the nation’s oil facilities by some militant groups in the Niger Delta region.
The militants under the umbrella of the Niger Delta Avengers have claimed responsibility for most of the attacks which have drawn the attention of the Nigerian Government and some other foreign governments.
Disturbed by the spate of the militants’ activities, the Nigerian Army launched a special team code named “Operation Crocodile Smile”, amidst agreement between the government and the militants to hold talks after a ceasefire agreement from both sides.
Despite this agreement, several other attacks have been launched on oil installation by the Niger Delta Avengers and another splinter group.
Both military and militants have continued to point accusing fingers at each other, alleging a breach of agreements, as the military said it would not hesitate to repel militants’ attack in the region.