By Gami Tadanyigbe
Kwali (FCT), Sept. 28, 2020 Some Cassava farmers in Dangara community, Kwali Area Council, FCT, have called on the Federal Government, to provide soft loans for farmers to enable them boost garri production in the area.
Cassava is a tap root with long tuberous edible roots and soft brittle stems; used especially to make cassiri (an alcoholic drink), tapioca, flour, flakes, cooked cassava with sauce, fufu, and so on.
In West Africa, Garri is a powdery food made from the tuberous roots of the cassava plant, which in the process of its manufacture is changed into dry edible granules.
Mr Meshack Nicholas, a cassava farmer, who made the call in an interview with journalists on behalf of other farmers, said to run garri business successfully required adequate finance.
Nicholas urged the government to give soft loans to small scale farmers, to alleviate the financial challenges they were facing in producing garri in the community and enable them to contribute to the nation’s economic growth.
NAN reports that the government recently approved new names for 10 improved cassava varieties, as part of efforts to brand the root crop for easy identification, cultivation and marketing of cassava stems.
The Director, Federal Department of Agriculture, Mrs Karima Babangida, who moved for the adoption of the names on behalf of the government of Nigeria described the move as a ‘‘welcome development.’’
The branded varieties comprise six released varieties and four yet-to be-released varieties.
The released varieties and their new names are as follows: IBA961632 (Farmer’s Pride), IBA980581 (Dixon), CR36-5 (Ayaya), IBA070593 (Sunshine), and IBA980505 (Fine face).
Also, TME 419, a variety already popular among farmers, remained unchanged as TME419. The yet-to-be-released (pre-release) varieties and their new names are TMS13F1160P0004
(Game Changer), TMS13F1343P0022 (Obasanjo-2), NR130124 (Hope) and TMEB693.
“I am Meshack Nicholas from the Dangara Community under Wako, in Kwali Area Council, FCT.
“I am a peasant farmer, I farm cassava and from that cassava I produce garri and cassava flour natively known as ‘Alebo’ or ‘Elubo’.
“The means of transporting the garri is sometimes a major challenge; we have people from within the community coming to buy in smaller quantities but we take it in large quantities to the nearby markets.
“We sell it out either by using mudu, which is a small measure of N200 or N250 or using rubber, which is N4,500 or N5,000 or per bag at the rate of N9000 or N10,000.
“Our major challenge is finance, because we need money for successful production of garri and also means of transportation to the market.
“We are appealing to the government to assist us with soft loans so that we can boost garri production in the community and help in developing the economy,” he said.
He said the major challenges faced by the cassava farmers in the community was the inability to access loan facilities for optimal business operation, which has forced some farmers to sell at give away prices.
However, he explained that garri production required a gradual step and adequate attention and creativity to achieve good quality product.
“After peeling the cassava, we rinse thoroughly to avoid sand in the garri, after which we make use of a specific grinding machine designed for grinding the cassava.
“The peeled and washed cassava are put in the bag to remove the water.
“There are different types of threshing machines that are used to remove water from the cassava.
“But we prefer to use the local one, which is the jack, we put the cassava under it for a whole day or two days after that we grind it again, and then we sieve it using iron sieve.
“After draining the acidic water, we fry the sieved garri dry without using oil. There are two ways of frying it, the first one is fried and ready for selling.
“The second method is called Sun Drying, we fry it a bit, then we dry it under the sun for some hours and re-sieve it again, then it is ready for consumption.