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Exploring the potential of cassava in promoting agricultural growth in Nigeria
Cassava is one of the major food crops in Nigeria, with multiple uses from human consumption to industrial applications. This study explores the potential of cassava in Nigerian agriculture based on a review of cassava development policies; performs a trend analysis of the cultivation area, production, productivity, and real price of cassava and other competing crops for the period 1961–2013; identifies the sources of growth in production; and examines the production constraints at the local level based on a survey of 315 farmers/processors and 105 marketers from Delta State. The results revealed that several policies and programmes were implemented to develop the cassava sector with mixed outcomes. Although cassava productivity grew at 1.5% per annum (p.a.) during the post-structural adjustment programme period (1993–2013), its real price declined at a rate of 3.5% p.a. The effect of yield is the main source of growth in production, contributing 76.4% of the total growth followed by the area effect (28.2%). The cassava sector is constrained by inadequate market infrastructure, processing facilities, and lack of information and unstable prices at the local level. The widespread diffusion of improved tropical manioc selection technologies and investments in market and marketing infrastructure, processing technologies, irrigation/water provision and information dissemination are recommended to enhance the potential of the cassava sector to support agricultural growth in Nigeria.