Nigerian farmers and processors would make as much as $800 million from the contract.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Akinwumi Adesina, said on Friday that Nigeria had secured a contract to supply China with 3.2 million tonnes of dry cassava chips.
Mr. Adesina stated this in a paper entitled: “The Value Chain Roadmap’’, which he delivered at the ongoing 9th All Nigeria Editors Conference holding in Asaba, Delta State.
He said arrangement was ongoing with the African Import/Export Bank to finance the processors of the product with a loan facility of $40 million (N632m) to meet the terms of the contract.
Mr. Adesina said that Nigerian farmers and processors would make as much as $800 million (N128 billion) from the contract.
“We are focusing on Cassava chips for export, production of chips for livestock industry, starch, sweeteners, and ethanol.
“A revolution is on its way in Agbadu in Kogi State, where today, Cargill, the world’s leading manufacturer of food, is working with my ministry and the Kogi State Government to set up a 75,000-tonne starch-to-sweetener plant, that will reduce our dependency on sugar imports.
“Over 15,000 hectares have been secured. They are being cleared for farmers to produce cassava for this plant.
“Nigeria has secured a contract to supply China. At the start of my tenure, I said we have to take on the export market for dry cassava chips.
“We set a target of doing 900,000 tonnes by 2015. I am very delighted to let you know that we have already secured 3.2 million tonnes of dry cassava chips contract from China,” he said.
The minister added that President Goodluck Jonathan had approved a N10 billion Cassava Bread Fund for the training of 5,000 master bakers across the country.
He explained that the money would be used to enhance cassava production, support cassava processors to process cassava flour at a lower cost and to enable other bakers to grow the social marketing of cassava bread.
Mr. Adesina commended the Delta Government for allocating 6,000 hectares for the cultivation of cassava at a proposed processing plant at Abraka.
He said that the plant had the capacity to process 72,000 tonnes of cassava and gave the assurance that the ministry would assist the state government to become one of the largest producers of cassava flour in the country.