In 2009, Nigeria was producing over 45 million tonnes, almost 19% of global production, making Nigeria is the largest producer and grower of Cassava in the world.
Cassava farmer in Nigeria with his annual crop.
According to some statistics – 90% of Nigerian households consume some type of cassava product every day – and we can believe it!
We all eat cassava is various forms – garri, starch, amala, cassava flour, roasted, fufu, and tapioca – everyday without knowing how it’s actually grown and processed.
Cassava in Nigeria agriculture originally came from South America and introduced into sothern Nigeria during the slave trade. In the 19th century salves began to return to Africa and introduced new processing techniques.
Cassava farming in Nigeria is the main staple for foods across Nigeria and West Africa. And in many small villages this type of small scale agriculture and farming is the main means of earning a living.
“Cassava production is the major profession in this village,” explains one your woman. “I had to join them in cassava production just to earn money.”
Throughout the village, men and women farm the plants, peel and process (washing and soaking the cassava for two to three days), grinding, and then the cassava is pressed in clean bags for the water to dry. If you want garri, the cassava is then fried. Young children load the tubers into trucks for sale. It’s not as easy as it looks, as Folly finds out: she manages to peel just one tuber to the other ladies ten.
The cassava crop, just harvested.
But every part of the cassava plant is used, whether the peelings are fed to livestock, or the flower used in soups or health and hair products.
“We employe people to peel the cassava for us,” says one young woman. “It must be peeled on time, and we pay 50 Naira per basket.”
“They’re seriously trying,” explains Folly, BattaBox presenter. “This is hard work.”