The National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) has entered into a partnership with a cassava flour and chips production company, Pacific Ring West Africa Limited (PRWAL) as government’s effort to diversify and boost the agriculture sector gathers momentum.
Speaking when he received the management of the company led by its managing director, Thomas Hirsch, in his office today in Abuja, the executive vice chairman of NASENI, Prof. Maiwalima Haruna, lauded PRWAL for its initiative of producing and popularizing chips from Nigerian cassava species for the European market.
He said NASENI’s collaboration with the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Shared System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), Machine and Equipment Corporation Africa (MECA) and the Nigerian Machine Tools Oshogbo would ensure that farmers are empowered in terms of grants, machines, tractors that would assist them in making agriculture in Nigeria a profitable venture.
“With these teams that are helping us to deliver on our mandate, this is a great milestone to ensure the SMEs are empowered. It is within our mandate to work with you. We are happy and I can assure you that with your coming clusters, farmers are coming back to farm on cassava. We are also happy with you as you scale up cassava production system in Nigeria as your products can
comfortably compete with those from Indonesia and Europe,” he said.
According to the NASENI boss, despite the challenges the agency is facing, there is no year it does not come out with new innovations and will not hesitate to come up with standard cassava chips machines which have already been produced in NASENI, adding “All we need to do is to produce the one with your specification using local materials.”
Earlier in his address, Hirsch said the industry was set up in 2016 but started the production of cassava chips and flour in Nigeria in 2018 and since then, the company had advanced in what they are doing.
He said the company applied high quality safety rules as it understood the policies and had achieved its aim in diversifying from oil to agricultural proceeds. “We brought some samples from Indonesia and even the basic machines we use are from Europe and over the years we have solidified and paid additional certification for healthy food.”
Saying the industry is competing with America and
Europe on quality cassava chips and potatoes, Hirsch added “we produce 50 million tones of African potatoes” pointing out that about 150 farmers in
Nasarawa State had been trained and empowered in the cassava farming
as well as provided an outlet for them.
NASENI’s asst. chief information officer, Chinyere Obiorah Ekwuazi, said Hirsch, however, talked about plans for them to scale up, pointing out that “the reason for being in NASENI is to find possible areas of collaborations especially on machines that can be used in the industry that can compete favorably with the ones we import from China and Indonesia.”