From Charity Nwakaudu Abuja
The efforts by the Federal Government to diversify the economy by investing in Agriculture is gradually gaining momentum as Pacific Ring West Africa Limited has indicated interest to partner with the National Agency for Science and Engineering infrastructure (NASENI) to upscale their production line in the manufacturing of cassava chips in Nigeria.
The Pacific Ring West Africa Limited(PRWAL) has started processing cassava chips and cassava flour production in Nigeria since 2016 but was practically importing its machines from Indonesia, China and Europe as well as
competing with them in quality and healthy food.
PRWAL management paid a courtesy visit to NASENI yesterday in Abuja to seek areas of collaborations especially in manufacturing of machines to support their downstream production value chain.
In his welcome address, the Executive Vice Chairman / Chief Executive of NASENI Prof. Maiwalima Mohammad Sani Haruna, said he was very impressed that Pacific Ring West Africa has a processing industry that has started to produce and popularize cassava chips from Nigerian cassava species for European Market.
Haruna stressed that NASENI’s collaboration with the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Shared System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), Machine and Equipment Corporation Africa (MECA) and the Nigerian
Machine Tools Oshogbo will in no doubt ensure that farmers would be empowered in terms of grants, machines , tractors that will assist them in making agricultural sector in Nigeria a profitable venture.
He said“With these team that are helping us to deliver on our mandate, this is a great milestone to ensure the SMEs are empowered. It is within our mandate to work with you. We are happy and I can assure you that with your coming clusters, farmers are coming back to farm on cassava. We are also happy with you as you scale up cassava production system in Nigeria as your products can comfortably compete with those from Indonesia and Europe”.
He however, noted that despite the challenges the Agency is facing, there is no year it does not come out with new innovations and will not hesitate to come up with standard cassava chips machines, which according to him, has already been produced in NASENI. “All we need to do is to produce the one with your specification using localmaterials”.
Earlier in his remarks the Managing Director of Pacific Ring West Africa, Thomas Hirsch said the industry was set up in 2016 but started the production of cassava chips and flour in Nigeria in 2018 and since then, the company has advanced in what they are doing.
He noted that the company applies high quality safety rules as it understood the policies and have archived its aim in diversifying from oil to agricultural proceeds. “We brought some samples from Indonesia and even the basic machines we use are from Europe and over the years we have solidified and paid additional certification for healthy food”.
He added that about 150 farmers in Nasarawa state have been trained and empowered in the cassava farming and have provided an outlets for the farmers.
“The reason for being in NASENI to find possible areas of collaborations especially on machines that can be used in the industry that can compete favorably with the ones we import from China and Indonesia.”