Lamidi Kazeem.

have really been questioning myself on what Cassava peel is being used for in these highly industrialized nations. I am fully aware of the kind of patronages Cassava peel flour and HQCP are presently enjoying as choiced major raw materials in animal feed manufacturing Industries. The case of massive shipment of dried peels (not flour) out of Nigeria is what I keep wondering about. If the usage is not that important, those exporting it would not be expending that much shipment cost on what we have always considered as a waste in Nigeria ab initio. 

These two discoveries and pursuants have further reinforce my believe in Cassava tuber, its components and derivatives as major inputs in driving industrialization in Nigeria economy;

One is the development of Cassava peels base bio - concrete, with Cassava starch playing a major role in its fluid mechanization.

Another one is the production of Cassava tuber or Cassava peel - base bio - plastic using sorbitol as the plasticizer.

One thing that give me joy and hope is the fact that all material inputs in these two products are all Cassava base and as a matter of fact, chunk of them are what we used to consider or throw away as wastes.

While I admit to the fact that these two products may belong to high end Production category which may require high level of scientific and technological applications, I do see lot of hope in the fact that our scientists at home are already thinking and working in this direction. 

I have severally watched and rewatched the interview of Dr Kolawole Olonade of the department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Lagos on his research work on usage of Cassava Peel for production of Bio - Concrete. And I am proud that such innovation that could win an award in Germany is initiated in Nigeria, by a Nigerian and using raw materials available in Nigeria. This is an indication and hope that Nigeria will one day offer a home base product, that the rest of the world would applaud.

Even as this great fit is achieved, academics and research alone are not enough to achieve commercialization of such a great innovation. This is in relation with what a friend of mine said about innovations and research works in our academic institutions. Hon Idowu Adewale said it's high time for our innovations move from Gown to Town. It is not just good enough that many of project and research works we do as part of exercises to wear graduation gowns end up on library cabinets. Deliberate efforts need to be made to commercialize the works and take them to town. 

Coming down to our Industrialization outlook on Cassava utilization, it is very important we merge our research findings with technical upliftment. I believe this is the role that institution like FIIRO was created for. But I feel we should look at technical and commercialization supports that is focused on industrializing Cassava tuber utilization. There are still so many developmental areas we can look at. One of them is the utilization of cyanide extracted from Cassava peels and Cassava tubers for production of herbicides and other industrial chemicals.

Another angle through which we can look at harnessing our full potential of Cassava is through possible technical partnership with China and India. India is very good at taking discoveries into markets. China is doing very well on Cassava explorations and exploitations using simple and complex technologies. Nigeria needs to make deliberate efforts to learn and buy technologies that can take our Cassava exploits to the next level from these two countries. It is not just enough for them to put up factories in Nigeria. Joint institutions through which entrepreneurs can learn rudiments of Cassava exploitations and explorations need to be created.

Achieving commercialization of bioplastic production using Cassava peels will not only relieve our economy of demand for high cost petrochemical resins being used presently, embracing usage of biodegradable alternative will in addition help in achieving a cleaner environment. Also, usage of bio-concrete alternatives in building and construction works will help reduce dependency on cement made from limestone and consequently reduces environmental pollution.

And the Cassava peels that used to be a complete waste Product and environmental mess is gradually becoming source of wealth to Industries and individuals who are operating in Cassava value Chain.

Cassava Cultivation: Early Planting Advantage.

Weeding is one of the most excruciating operation in Cassava cultivation. Apart from the fact that the operation is rigorous (either manual or with herbicide), the cost of weeding alone; if not well managed is enough to make the business of Cassava Farming a complete loss - especially now that farmers are battling low market price.

But do you know that dry season planting can give you lot of advantage against incessant weeding? Yes, if you are able to complete your planting before the ending of December, you plant will have lots of growing edge over the growth of weeds.

If you are concerned about how the Cassava will germinate during this season, you can seek expertise of those who have knowledge of 'full bury stem planting method'. With this style, more than 80% of stem planted will sprout without much problem. You can then continue cover those portions that did not sprout at the first plant. '3/4 stem planting method' also work very well during season without rain. Night and early morning dews are just enough to maintain growing of the sprouted Cassava plant during this harsh season, while the weed struggle to grow.

You can imagine how the growth of this Cassava will hasten against the weeds with the first rain by month March or April in the following year. The weed will never catch up with the Cassava. You might just need to weed only once before the Cassava farm covers completely.

Why don't you try this with one or two acres this year?

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