NQC Reiterates Importance Of National Policy In Advancing Cassava Value Chain In Africa

The National Quality Council (NQC) has reiterated the key role of National Governments and Quality Infrastructure Institutions in the development of the Cassava Value Chain across the African Continent.

Chairman and Chief Executive of the Council, Osita Aboloma highlighted the importance of national policies in a keynote presentation at the opening of the 3-day African Cassava Conference hosted by Nigeria in Abuja last week.

In the presentation titled “The Role of National Governments and National Quality Infrastructure Institutions in the Development of the Cassava Value Chain” the NQC Chairman posited that National Governments in Africa are strategic to achieving the theme of the Conference which was to stimulate Africa’s industrialization through the development of Cassava based products and assuring quality along the value chain.

According to him, given the prevalence of the Cassava crop in the entire African Continent, developing the value chain for food security, nutrition as well as Industrialisation purposes require the collaboration of governments at local, state and the federal levels for optimum gain.

Aboloma enumerated the roles of local, state and federal governments respectively in relation to Cassava cultivation and processing as including availability of land and extension support services, legal instruments and land approvals as well as policy formulation, implementation, review and coordination.

He stated further that African National Governments in collaboration with other arms and the private sector have critical roles to play in promoting local fabrication of machinery and equipment for use along the Cassava value chain to enhance micro, small and medium scale enterprises development, job as well as wealth creation, food security and industrialization on the Continent.

The NQC Chief Executive posited that optimization of the Cassava Value Chain in Africa is largely dependent on the efficiency and effectiveness of the National Quality Infrastructure, namely standards development and harmonization to provide necessary quality benchmarks for all the derivates of the crop; conformity assessment, including product and facilities inspection, testing, verification and certification, to confer third party quality assurance.

Others according to him include, international accreditation and mutual recognition agreements to guarantee the acceptance of the outcomes of the conformity assessment processes across national borders and Metrology, to provide traceability, accuracy and consistency of measurement equipment, thus providing validity of measurement readings in trade and commerce along the Cassava value chain.

“The efficiency and effectiveness of the various institutions hosting the National Quality Infrastructure in both the public and private sectors are thus critical to the development of the Cassava value chain in Africa”, he said.

Speaking earlier, the Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Senator Abubakar Kyari described Cassava as a staple food for millions of Nigerians that is grown in the 36 States of the Federation as well as the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). 

The commodity according to him has several domestic, food and industrial purposes among which are the production of Ethanol; Industrial Starch; Cassava Flour; Sweetener and Glucose Syrup which are major derivatives that are raw materials to numerous utility items with limitless domestic and export potentials.

Senator Kyari stressed Nigeria’s determination to take advantage of being the largest producer of cassava in the world to substitute large quantity of wheat flour, corn starch and bio-oil which she imports in very large quantities with Cassava flour; Industrial Cassava Starch and Ethanol respectively, by tackling the various challenges from the level of activities in production, processing or marketing, including the 2-3 year cycle of glut and scarcity that causes fluctuations in price of the commodity

The Minister enumerated major challenges to production of high-quality Cassava flour (HQCF) as including high cost of flash dryer, high level maintenance and inefficiency of locally fabricated flash dryers which affect the quality of the output.

He advocated continued sensitization and training of stakeholders on the use of 20% HQCF in bread baking and other confectionaries; need for small scale/cottage flash dryer; improved locally fabricated flash dryers for improved quality of the HQCF as a way forward in the subsector.

 “Providing good quality cassava derivatives will facilitate increase in local and export demand of the product leading to enhanced efficiency and production of the crop. The outcome of the conference will no doubt bring about increase in the average yields in cassava; enhance stakeholders’ revenues; incorporate quality control inspection and certification systems; encourage appropriate technology for rapid multiplication of the cassava and create jobs and wealth for the Nigeria citizens”, he said.

Senator Kyari commended the efforts of African Union Commission, other partners and the organized private sector for the Africa Cassava Conference 2023 in Nigeria as this according to him, would facilitate stakeholders working together to develop a robust, commercially driven and economically viable cassava sector that will not only contribute to food and nutrition security but also increasingly contribute to growth of the commodity in Nigeria and Africa as a continent.

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