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Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Suva, Fiji Islands
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The myriad varieties found within cultivated plants are fundamental to the present and future productivity of agriculture. PAPGREN, which is coordinated by the Land Resources Division of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), helps Pacific countries and territories to conserve their crop genetic diversity sustainably, with technical assistance from the Bioversity International (BI) and support from NZAID and ACIAR.
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Thursday, March 03, 2005
Posted 3:26 PM by Luigi
IITA, fabricators to manufacture local cassava processing machines
This Day (Lagos), February 21, 2005, by Crusoe Osagie
With the current revolution in the cassava industry in Nigeria, the International Institute of Tropical Agricul-ture IITA in collaboration with machine fabricators have moved to increase the nation's prospects by building cassava processing equipment in Nigeria for value addition.
According to a report from the institute, IITA is involving all stakeholders from the beginning so that everyone will contribute his own quota to ensure the success of the revolution.
This was the position of Dr. Alfred Dixon, IITA Cassava Breeder, while speaking at the opening of a one-day interactive session with Nigerian machine fabricators at IITA Ibadan, recently. He said the purpose of the meeting was to bring the fabricators on board to develop made-in-Nigeria processing machines for the cassava industry.
Dixon explained that the interactive session between IITA and the fabricators was organized to support the Presidential initiative on cassava production, industrialization and export. He said IITA was encouraging mechanization of all operations from planting to processing of cassava, because it was only through mechanization of various operations such as planting, peeling, grating, drying and packaging for storage and export that large scale cassava farmers and processors can be involved in the business to meet industrial demand of cassava.
Dixon said IITA was determined to ensure the success of the Presidential initiative. He went further that cassava has become a national crop of priority in Nigeria and many other African countries, adding that the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) has equally adopted cassava as an essential crop for food security in the continent. He therefore urged the fabricators to be ready to share their experiences with IITA on the one hand, and with one another on the other, to enable them produce all sorts of equipment necessary for the Nigerian cassava industry.
Explaining the roles expected of the fabricators, Dr. Lateef Sanni, IITA Food Technologist/Post Harvest Specialist said they would be required to produce all sorts of machines including cassava planters, harvesters, peelers, graters, dryers, mills and packaging machines according to specification so that Nigerian entrepreneurs will not go abroad to import machines of poor quality which in the end may not work in the Nigerian environment. He told the participants that IITA already has requests to supply various types of equipment needed for the cassava industry both from within Nigeria and from other African countries. He said IITA was ready to team up with any fabricator or groups of fabricators that are serious, resourceful and willing to perform good jobs. In his words: "this is good business, but we at IITA will not encourage shoddy jobs". He urged them to join the Cassava Equipment Fabricators Association of Nigeria (CEFAN) being registered at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) at the instance of IITA so that in the near future, they can operate as a lobby group, while IITA will give them technical backstopping .
Also speaking on the occasion, Mr. Paul Ilona, IITA International Trials Manager urged the fabricators not to horde information, but be ready to open-up and share knowledge with their colleagues in the interest of the country and for the success of the industry. He said "this is a national call on the fabricators to demonstrate commitment, ingenuity and creativity".
Examples of machines produced in other foreign countries such as Brazil, Colombia, and Thailand was the focus of the presentation by Dr. Marco Patino, Agro-enterprise Specialist, who showed power point pictures of cassava planters, harvesters, graters and dryers from foreign lands. He added that to import such equipment into the country will not only undermine the capacity of the local fabricators to develop made-in-Nigeria machines, but will result into capital flight, because the equipment are more expensive. He added that most of the machines, if imported into Nigeria, may not necessarily perform to the required standards while maintenance cost will become too enormous.
Highlights of the session was a visit to the IITA cassava processing center where some of the locally manufactured machines and equipment were observed and tested to determine their capacity and efficiency, and to suggest modifications for improvement and up grading. While the IITA officials commended the efforts put into making locally, the hydraulic press with capacity for 1ton /h; a 5-t/day cabinet dryer; 5t/day flash dryer; and a 4.5t/day pelletizer, the fabricators were enjoined to scale-up the capacity of the machines and pay more attention to the aesthetics of the equipment. Dr. Dixon reminded them that there was big market awaiting them not only in Nigeria but in other African countries.
At the general discussion session, many of the participants expressed delight at the high quality of the meeting, and they all promised to cooperate fully with IITA to get the best for the success of the cassava industry. Eng. Ade Adebayo, Assistant General Manager, Oshogbo Steel Rolling Company remarked that his company, in collaboration with the sister organization, Oshogbo Machine Tools Ltd. was ready to assist any of the participating engineering companies in the fabrication of some components such as gears, hydraulics, conveyor belts and pulleys according to specification.
In the same vein, Eng. Linus Ogbonna of Olympics Engineering Company Ltd, Awka, Anambra State promised that, his company has capacity to make all sorts of machine components that would meet international standards. The Chief Executive Officers of both Nijilukas and Peak Engineering Works also promised to improve on their cabinet and flash dryers on display respectively. They also expressed willingness to team up with other colleagues to mass produce the dryers on request.
Eng. Olayeni Olowu, Managing Director, Addis Engineering Ltd, Lagos was full of praises for IITA "for this wonderful initiative", adding that "my company is always ready to produce and supply grating plates, pelletizers with higher capacity, power tillers, and cassava harvesters among others".
At the end of the meeting, no one was left in doubt about the dedication and resourcefulness of the fabricators who were ready not only to take the challenge and support the cassava revolution, but also to ensure that the market will soon be flooded with high quality made-in-Nigeria machines of international standards for large scale cassava production and processing.
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