The Nigeria Cassava Growers Association, Thursday, attributed limited cassava availability and increased cost of cassava products to herdsmen attacks on farms.
The group’s president, Segun Adewumi, made the observation in Lagos on Thursday.
Mr. Adewumi, who spoke on the challenges being faced by cassava farmers, also lamented the lack of compensation to affected farmers.
He noted that cassava products such as “garri”, flour, “fufu”, starch and semolina had become more costly, saying that attacks by herdsmen had caused cassava farmers to stop in some parts of the country.
Mr. Adewumi added that insurance firms did not compensate the affected farmers because policies taken by the farmers did not cover malicious damage to farms.
“As such, the farmers lost the produce to the attackers without compensation,” he noted.
“It has been a very difficult time for cassava farmers in Nigeria because of the incessant attacks by herdsmen, who make it difficult for them to go to their farms.
“Farmers are afraid to go and cultivate; some farmers have lost their lives for venturing into the farms.
“All that the farmers had were lost to these attackers, and that really affected production of cassava,” he said.
He said the attacks led to shortage of cassava stems thereby causing limited availability of cassava for processing.
Mr. Adewumi said farmers who obtained loans from commercial banks were unable to pay back because their cassava farms had been eaten up by animals.
The NCGA president said that high demand for local production of ethanol and industrial starch also affected the cost of cassava products, adding that high foreign exchange rate forced industries to go for locally-produced ethanol and industrial starch instead of imported ones.
“Thus, there is more demand for cassava,’’ Mr. Adewumi said.
The News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, reports that a small paint bucket measure of cassava flakes, otherwise known as ‘Garri’, costs between N900 and N1,100, depending on the location in Lagos metropolis.
A 60kg bag of the commodity costs between N11,000 and N12, 500 at the Mushin Oloosa Market, depending on the quality.