Cassava Processing Industry in Nigeria

I. Development Status of Nigeria Cassava Processing Industry
Cassava, a wooded plant which belongs to the hevea and originates from Latin America. Its roots are full of starch which can supply carbohydrates for consumers, people in some developing country like Africa areas still grow cassava every year to eat. For example, Nigeria produces the largest parts of fresh cassava in the global, while Thailand is the largest exporter country of dried cassava. And the tuberous root is easily rotted, the fresh cassava processing and deep processing are quite important, so there exists a possibility to improve cassava processing business in Nigeria.

Cassava harvesting in Nigeria

Cassava’s planting area are 3-4 million hectares, and it’s reported that Nigeria’s annual profit can up to 0.18 billion dollars by planting cassava from FAO.(Food and Agriculture Organization) Over 800 million people world-wide depend on cassava as a regular source of energy. Per capital consumption in West Africa is more than 120kg annually while that of Central Africa Republic is more than 300kg annually. Cassava can be processed into food ,feed and industrial use. In Africa and Latin America, cassava is processed into food and feed, there are tens of different cassava derivatives in Brazil. In china and Thailand, cassava is mainly processed into piece, particle, starch and its deep processing product. The main traded products in the international market firstly are cassava piece and particle, in those years, the world’s import amounts of cassava piece and particle are about 6 million metric tons. Among these, EU imports about 3.5 million metric tons, Japan imports about 1.2 million metric tons, and China imports 0.3 million metric tons. Thailand, 80 percentages of the world export amounts, is the largest exporter of them in the world. Since the 1990s, as a result of the rapid development in the cassava starch and feed industry, the global market’s demand for cassava is on the increase each year. Referred to cassava starch, the investment scale of it is becoming larger, such as: a scale of 20-30 metric tons cassava products one hour; Hovex in Netherlands and ISI in Denmark stand for the advanced cassava starch processing technology in the world. Many in the industry predict that in the 2020, the world’s cassava amounts will up to 0.271 billion metric tons, which means a considerable global market.
For meeting global and domestic needs, Nigeria’s cassava sector shows significant promise for industrialization, and progress has already been made in all products. The country has an enormous supply of fresh cassava, but per unit area of its production is still in a low level. In 1996-2005, the cassava production is from 9 to 12 metric tons per hectare, and there are some problems that cassava processing business meets in Nigeria: its production and processing technology needs updating, which directly results in an noncompetitive product compared with other countries’; Nigeria hasn’t formed an overall stable channel of product purchase, deep processing and supply.

II. The Environment of Cassava Processing Business in Nigeria
In order to improve cassava processing business, the government carries out “10 percents of the bread’s ingredient should be cassava starch”policy. KOGI state plans to invest 3 billion naira for setting up the multipurpose cassava processing factory. In December 2015, the government carry out the policy that the cassava processing machines and equipment are tax exempt. The IITA(International Institute Of Tropical Agriculture), cooperating with the government, Niger Delta Development Commission and the United States Agency for International Development, exploits the new type of resistance to mosaic disease in cassava. This aims to promote cassava processing and using. From the government’s policy and the social’s technical assistance , we know Nigeria is willing to improve the technology and enhance the importance of cassava processing business, and even the developed country like the USA is involved in it. The reason is that cassava can be deep processed into cassava alcohol and modified starch, which can be used for making chemical products, glue, paper, pharmaceutical and cosmetics.

Nigeria cassava processed products and uses

Economic news shouldn’t be ignored, it is reported that “Nigeria’s crude production is down to 1.4 million barrels a day, 500,000 barrels per day down year-on-year.” As the main crude exporter, Nigeria’s economy has been badly influenced. Nigeria’s economy is down sharply because the government is too rely on the petroleum exporting, and neglects the development of non-oil economy. The traditional agriculture production is in decline, people’s necessities of life need importing. Now that the crude production’s downturn appears, people should realize that the economic structure must be diversified and the traditional agriculture need to be optimized for solving the existing problems in Nigeria. The government should really take action instead of carrying out policy one by one. As the saying goes, economic downturn appears with business opportunity, such as: the lipstick effect. However, the investment shouldn’t be speculative. The investor need find a stable, cost-effective and long service life business, such as: the cassava processing business in agricultural field. 

III. Market Demand and Consumption Pattern of Processed Cassava Products
Basicly, there are two kinds of different trading market in Nigeria: the simple food market and the functional industrial one. The majority of the cassava grown in Nigeria is processed and traded through the well-known traditional market, the less known structure is the industrial cassava market. In Nigeria, it is predicted that industrial usage takes up 16% of the whole cassava amount in 2001. In the industrial part, about 10% is processed in forms of chips and used for feeding animals, 5% is processed in forms of molasses and added as an ingredient into soft drinks, only the rest 1% is further processed into functional cassava flour and made into snacks and candy. In addition to, the rest 84% of cassava are consumed for directly eating or trading, which are not involved in industrial processing market. The consumption pattern varies according to geographic region in traditional market.

daily consumption pattern by geographic region in Nigeria

Gari, a traditional cassava starch product, is the dominant product and is widely accepted in both rural and urban areas. Fufu, mashed cassava, is second popular in the country, especially in southern zones. And the data of daily cassava consumption per capital by ecological zones in Nigeria showes that urban and rural cassava consumption are similar, proving the fact that cassava is a national food with a truly urban market. Cassava becomes a choice of food even in the face of the varies alternative food selections in urban areas. Globally, the trade in cassava products has grown by over 10% in the recent years, driven primarily by Chinese investors, which account for 90% of total trade.
The other main market is in Europe, the USA, British and Japan. Nigeria, as the largest producer, export fewer cassava than Thailand, since export has fluctuated by the irregular supply and by structural problems, in particular the lack of infrastructure for inland transportation and long distances to port facilities. This indicates that despite the current efforts to increase cassava production and trade in Nigeria, the prospects for export of cassava chips to the EU will be limited as long as Asian countries, specifically Thailand, continue to dominate on the European market, so Nigeria needs to break out trade barrier and capture every cooperate opportunities.

IV. Production Scale of Nigeria Cassava Processing Business
In Nigeria, cassava's production amount is up to 40 million metric tones every year. After cultivated, most cassava need be processed before consumed, the processing scale can be large, medium, small or household. Nigeria cassava processing business scale is mostly in a traditional way, which can’t meet today’s market demand. The need for earning money makes people take action, the farmers or processors in a village who has processed cassava into convenient cassava food products reported expansion in cassava land area.

more Nigeria farmers choose to process cassava

The enhanced processing techniques improve product quality, reduce bulk and make it possible for quality cassava products to be transferred economically by car to the native marketplace. Improved processing technologies can save artificial and cost. Except the factors of geography, weather and technology, cassava processing business is also influenced by industrial chain, the country’s infrastructure and consumption demand.

V. Product Price of the Processed Cassava Products in Nigeria
The average indicate, during 2002-2003, maize is slightly more expensive than gari, and cassava root is the cheapest among them. Gari is widely consumed by households in the south and some in the north, and traded in Bodija.(a district in Ibadan, OYO State, Nigeria) From the 5 Year Average, the gari price is approximately 80 Nigeria Naira per kilogram except in April, May and July.And the price in current years is higher than in the previous years.


Following the government’s policy, technologies appear for the use of cassava as a partial substitute for wheat in making bread. In Nigeria, the composite cassava and wheat flour food products are more expensive than all wheat flour food products, The reason is the former requires expensive supplementary viscosity raisers such as egg, milk and gums to compensate for the lack of gluten in cassava. The other important reasons such as the cassava variety, age of cassava root and the cassava planting environment also influence the quality of the food products which cassava substitute partly for the wheat flour. It is predicted that, with a maturer technology in food manufacturing industry, the cassava transformation will be accelerated and the cassava derivation will cost people less money. 

VI. Marketing Channel of the Nigeria Cassava Products
Frankly speaking, commodity has value until they are sold. The marketing channel changes if the cassava product changes, and there generally exists two kinds of marketing channels: traditional methods and commercial methods. The traditional household farmers will sell their products, fresh cassava roots, directly to the local consumer or the traveling traders. Traders negotiate directly with farmers, or contact with the market-savvy commission agents. These agents either sell in the market, or transport the product to smaller selling venues. Though preferences for cassava products vary across Nigerian states, gari is the most popular cassava product. For example, fresh cassava can be processed into gari by household or processing centers, then it is loaded into bags of 25 kg separately and transferred to the local market for trade. Usually the traders buy nearly 90% of gari in the local market, and then they go to the urban market, which is larger than the local one. At the urban market, traders bring gari to the retailers and the retailers sell it to the end consumer. However, other channels will appear, it has been shown a demand for shelf-stable derivative products, Cassava can be produced and fed into rural and urban-based industries for use in the manufacture of a variety of end-products; food, livestock feed, textiles, adhesives, etc. 

VII. Development Potential of Cassava Processing Industry in Nigeria
I present High-quality cassava flour value chain to conclude the report. HQCF is used as a substitute for wheat flour in bakery and pasta products. In Nigeria, totally, two HQCF processing factories can produce up to 50 tons of cassava every day. One HQCF processing factory is able to produce nearly 5 tons of cassava each day. In addition to, more than 100 HQCF processing factories have the ability to produce 1-2 tons of cassava per day. With high quality processing technology, cassava's value chain is more flexible than before and more money will be put into the cassava market. From one specific value chain, we can estimate: the cassava processing product will be high quality-oriented, more advanced technology will be used in processing business to maximize the profits.The cassava product’s marketing channel is more flexible and well-adjusted for meeting consumers’ needs. The prospect of cassava processing business in Nigeria is potential, though opportunities always come along with challenge, and if you don’t open the eyes, you will never see the world.