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MADE seeks cassava alternative for livestock feed

By Gbenga Akinfenwa
06 November 2016   |   2:31 am
In the face of soaring prices of maize and soya beans - the essential ingredients for the production of livestock feeds, feed millers are folding up gradually, as a result of huge losses.
Cassava farm

Cassava farm

In the face of soaring prices of maize and soya beans – the essential ingredients for the production of livestock feeds, feed millers are folding up gradually, as a result of huge losses.

Even livestock growers are not left out, as the development has led to drastic drop in their profit margin. For instance, Layers Mash, which sold for N2, 650 few months back is now N3, 280, likewise Growers Mash, earlier sold for N2, 800 is now N3, 350, forcing many livestock farmers to adopt the 1-0-1 formula.

As at August 2015, maize was sold at N30, 000 per metric ton. It moved to N35, 000 in January and has risen to N255, 000 plus in the last few weeks, a development that has prompted desperate search for substitute by stakeholders.

Last week, the Market Development Programme in the Niger Delta (MADE), in conjunction with the Department for International Development (DFID), held a one-day workshop on Livestock Feed Substitution With Cassava Derivatives, in Benin City, Edo State, targeted at addressing this problem.

Themed: “Prospects & Opportunities in Substitution of Livestock Feed with Cassava Derivatives in the face of Rising Cost of other feed ingredients,” the main focus of the meet, which provided good linkage between producers, processors and feed millers, is the use of cassava as an alternative energy feedstuff to substitute maize, to reduce cost of feeds due to the cheaper price of cassava compared to maize.

In her paper titled: “Processing Cassava For Livestock Feed,” Research Scientist, National Root Crop Research Institute (NRCRI), Umudike, Dr. Chioma Ekwe, said the use of cassava as alternative energy feedstuff to substitute maize could help reduce cost of feed, through adequate processing techniques.

Effective processing, according to her is necessary to reduce high level of cyanide yielding substances to negligible levels. “Processing extend the shelf life of the crop for safe storage; makes handling and marketing easy; helps to improve the acceptability and palatability of cassava-based diets and maximises the nutritive component.”

She concluded that processing is the vital step to cassava utilisation in animal feed and strict adherence to appropriate processing stages is essential to alleviate its toxidity. “The presence of cyanide in cassava is a major factor limiting its use as feed.”

Processing Expert/Consultant, Cassava Added Value Africa Project (CAVA2), Federal University of Agriculture (FUNAAB), Abeokuta, Alenkhe Bamidele, who disclosed that the increase in production of cassava roots generates about 14 million tons of wet peels and undersized tubers thrown away as wastes, said proper uses/processing of cassava peels could generate income source for processors; provide alternative economic options for livestock and fish producers if converted to animal feed; create employment opportunities and provide reduction in maize use as ingredient for feed production.

“According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation, animal raised on cassava have generally good health, good disease resistance, and low mortality and require few, if any, antibiotics in their feed.  While noting that good quality feed ingredient can be produced within one day of six to eight hours of work, he said feed could be fed directly to ruminants or sold to feed millers, adding that tons of cassava peels produced during cassava processing could be processed into a feed ingredient used in livestock. “Commercial feed producers will be the up takers of the cassava grits to reduce or replace maize in the near future as ingredient in feed production.”

The Team Leader of MADE, Tunde Oderinde, said based on his interface with feed millers, he gathered that the development has been a big problem for the poultry industry and they are looking at substitute for maize, noting that the quantity of maize used is up to two million MT and they can substitute maize up to 50 per cent, which means there is a potential demand of about one million metric tons for cassava.

“With this we are looking up to our partners, who have been toiling to sell their cassavas (High Quality Cassava Flours), which most of the time, the flour millers are not interested in buying. Though the government policy said there should be 10 per cent inclusion and we supported them to improve their capacity to produce HQCF, but there is nothing we can do. So, we felt that rather than abandoning them why not show them another opportunity and within the feed mill we are going to explore and consult widely, we just heard some fish feed millers are using HQCF, so for us is to estimate that demand and see how we can link up to millers that are using HQCF.”

He assured that as a private sector development project, looking at the market system in its entirety, MADE is out to create a win-win situation for every actor within the value-chain. “As a facilitator we don’t get involved but we ensure a win-win for everybody. We are willing to sort out relationship within the processors and the millers and at the same time help the coordination of farmers to supply good products.”

Oderinde noted that the multiplier effect of their intervention cannot be quantified, saying beyond the direct farmers, there are a lot of indirect farmers, which would have impact on logistics, agro inputs and service providers, up to the people spraying, people who would be tilling. “Most importantly to us is about the increased income that would triple and trickle down to even the labourers, it’s going to be massive and sustainable and that is why we are building this relationship on the private sector.

“We are here to find solution to the problem within the cassava sector, which happens to be one of the sectors the project is working on. We are looking at improving the market constraint and also participation.”

The Group Head, Strategy and Policy, Amo Byng Nig Limited and Amo Farm Sieberer Hatchery Limited, Francis Toromade, who was part of the resource persons at the workshop, said aside the problem of army worm ravaging maize farms, generally, there is scarcity of maize because Nigerians have never relied solely on locally produced maize, but always substituting with importation, noting that due to the devaluation of naira and the scarcity of dollar, its been difficult to cope with the trend.

“Since 2011 there has been importation of a minimum of 100,000 metric tons of maize, last year 300,000 tons were imported and there is a projection for 300,000 again this year, in which as at today only 90,000 tons has so far entered the country. So, there is a shortfall of 410,000 tons. So, the truth is that the local production has not been able to satisfy the needs of the consumers locally, prompting us to look for the way out, to find alternative to maize.”

He noted that the workshop is a good development that would need to be taken further because it is like a strategy, which doesn’t give result until it is taken.