Nigeria is the largest cassava producer globally and accounts for about one-fifth (21%) of the total production worldwide. Also, cassava is known to be one of highest producer of carbohydrates among stable crops. It is used extensively for various purposes in the food, chemical and textile industries. Cassava is important, not just as a food crop but even more so as a major source of cash income for producing households. As a cash crop, cassava generates cash income for the largest number of households, in comparison with other staples, contributing positively to poverty alleviation.
On 17th December; 2020, five varieties of cassava were released through the NextGen Cassava Project implemented by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and the National Root Crops Research Institute
All five varieties (Game-Changer, Hope, Obasanjo-2, Baba-70, and Poundable) are high-yielding and resistant to viral diseases. Poundable is the first sweet variety of cassava released in Nigeria. It can be boiled and eaten without elaborate processing. Hope and Baba-70 are excellent for making into garri and fufu, so they benefit cottage processors, most of whom are women. Game-Changer and Obasanjo-2 have a high and stable starch content, so farmers will find ready buyers at flour mills and starch factories (Source: https://mel.cgiar.org).
The varieties were chosen after conducting consumer preference studies. This ensures that the new releases will meet the demands of farmers, processors, and others and that Nigerians will grow, process, and eat these varieties for years to come.
In Thailand, the Thai government developed variants of cassava derivatives such as cassava to sugar, cassava chips, cassava pellets and ethanol in a bid to boost export performance. With an annual production of about 44 million tons of cassava, Nigeria is today the world’s leader of cassava, but the country is yet to harness the maximum benefit from cassava due to inadequate processing facilities. This, subjects the crop to seasonal glut and post harvest loss. This situation can be savaged by availability of processing facilities, technical adequacy and knowledge in different value-added products of cassava.