Cassava is a crop for wealth creation, renewable energy, Employment generation and food security. It changed from what was known as just a household crop to be the “white gold” and was raising the economic fortune of millions of Nigeria farmers, processors, transporters, traders, Equipment, fabrication, industrialist, women and youth groups.
According to Onwulalu, the production mark of cassava in Nigeria is 45 million tonnes per Annum and as such, she remains one of the largest producer in the world but virtually consume all the cassava produced with little or no value addition. Thailand is said to be a major key player in the export market of cassava starch even though its yet to produce as much cassava as Nigeria.
SHORTCOMINGS IN MARKETING OF CASSAVA IN NIGERIA
Cassava as one of the tuber crop marketed in Nigeria is not without some marketing problems.. These problems range from production, processing, and marketing of the crop.
The quality of cassava produced in Nigeria is very low. This is attributed to processing of it. Cassava product in Nigeria lack mechanized equipment thereby limiting the benefits that Nigerian economy would have been generating from high demand of the product at both Domestic and international level.
According to the director of research and development council of Nigeria Prof. A.P. Onwualu while speaking at workshop on mechanical peeling and value addition to cassava for export. He stated that low quality and high cost of cassava produced in Nigeria make it difficult for it to be marketed both within and outside the country. He said the course of this problem is that indigenous producers of cassavas and related products are still unable to meet both Domestic and international demand both in quality and quantity demanded.
Low patronage of upgraded versions of machinery, low production of cassava chips, flour, pellets and starch at the cottage both in small and medium enterprises level also is factors attributed to limiting the marketing success of cassava product.
this problems is also attribute to cassava product which are mainly produced by household without mechanization, thereby leading to inability to meet quality and quantity demand of the industry.
In the other hand, method of cassava production processing in Nigeria is capital intensive and time consuming, thereby limiting the successful marketing of the product in the market. This high cost of production marketers gathered , make sale of cassava produce from Nigeria uncompetitive on the international market. It is not competitive in terms of price of production. Nigeria produce at price the double the price other countries like China and Thailand produce.
Another problem inherent in marketing of cassava is its perishability. The huge portion of the products gets spoiled before they get to their destination.
Another problem encountered by marketers of this product in Nigeria is problem of road access. Roads through which this product is sold is at a very bad condition thereby leading to delay of the product to get to the market.
Also faced by marketers of this product is the problem of storage. storing of this product pending the time of demand and delivery to the needed customers is a problem to marketers because some of these product get spoiled before the delivery period.
Marketers also complain that customers are beginning to ask for other product that are produced out of cassava like bread made of cassava, the chips and starch. And the inability of producers to make available enough of cassava produce pose grate draw back to meeting customer satisfaction.
SUGGESTED SOLUTIONS TOWARDS EFFICIENT MARKETING OF CASSAVA PRODUCT SO AS TO ENABLE CUSTOMER SATISFACTION.
(1) Nigeria should improve the quality of cassava she produce by providing processing equipment for the farmers of cassava crop.
(2) The indigenous producers of cassava and related product should be availed the opportunity of mechanized farming by government by way of providing grants and loans to enable them do so.
(3) Nigeria should develop its local cassava market to enable the effective and efficient selling of cassava produce locally by marketers.
(4) She should subsidize the cost of energy and raw materials for farmers so that, the high price associated to this product will come down in order to achieve global competition in the market.
(5) Cassava should be produced into various uniquely Nigeria food product, so that marketers will have wide variety of cassava product to market.
(6) Producers should also adopt a measure that will enable the sale and marketing of waste from cassava as livestock feed.
(7) Government should help and provide farmers with cars that have producing device capable of reducing the rate of cassava spoilage.
(8) Government also should as a matter of urgency take up the construction and maintenance of dilapidated roads so as to ease transportation of cassava product in Nigeria.
The producers of this product should lias with government to produce storage house and equipment for marketers of this product so as to encourage them to do their selling with less stress.
By boosting the financial capabilities of farmers the shortage of the cassava product will be arrested and when this is done. It is definitely going to make for enough production of cassava that will serve the various product needs of the customers.
In all, both government, the producers, the marketers and all the well meaning Nigerians should imbibe the habit of promoting cassava production and sale so as to make for greater economic growth of the country.