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Cultivation and processing of 10,000 tons of cassava roots per annum

Photo of Ekene Unumadu
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Lead Applicant Organization Name


Lead Applicant Organization Type

  • Small company (under 50 employees)

How long have you / your team been working on this Vision?

  • 1-3 years

Lead Applicant: In what city or town are you located?


Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?


Your Selected Place: what’s the name of the Place you’re developing a Vision for?

Ezeukwuu, Bende Local Goverment Area of Abia State Nigeria

What country is your selected Place located in?


Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.

The choice of the place is based on the following:

It is a tropical rain forest with adequate rainfall all year round and the vegetation is a mixture of evergreen forest and the savannah grassland with very fertile soil suitable for cassava cultivation.

The community and inhabitants are predominantly cassava farmers and are very experienced in cassava farming.

The Land acquisition or arrangement is peaceful as the community is disposed to provide community land for such project that benefits its people,

There is availability of good workforce, most of the  young people are farmers in the village and are ever ready to participate in such project.

There is also good road network to support the movements of farm inputs and produce/products to the market. 

The place is important because they have enough land and workforce for the farming and processing project. 

I am connected to the place through the MOU signed for the use of the land for cassava cultivation. Also my co-director in the company is from the community.

Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.

Ezeukwu clan is an Igbo-speaking communities in southeastern Nigeria in the Bende Local Government Area of Abia State. It is located in the northern part of the old Bende division in the former Owerri Province of eastern Nigeria. It faces Isuikwuato at the west, Amaokwe Item at the East, Akaeze and Ishiagu in Ebonyi State at the north while Alayi at the south. The clan is  nicknamed “food basket” because of abundance of food in the clan. The Ezeukwu land is a great agricultural site. In 1971 Ezeukwu peacefully became autonomous communities and the administrative system of ruling in Ezeukwu was set in place by the ancestors with traditional laws and beliefs in African religion. The ruling Elders utilized all the traditional professions in their day-to-day operation of governance. However, the three most active operative arms of governance were: the hunters, the age-groups and the all-male Secret Societies. But presently the Igwes are at the hem of affairs. It is a tropical rain forest with adequate rainfall all year round and the vegetation is a mixture of evergreen forest and the savannah grassland with very fertile soil suitable for cassava cultivation. Agriculture is the mainstay of Ezeukwu's economy. Their chief crops consist of: cassava, yam, beans and maize. The people of Ezeukwu eat Garri, Fufu,Yam,Plantain with Ukwu (vegetable soup), Orha soup, Okra soup, Egusi soup,Nsala and Banga soup. There are few other local delicacies. Ezeukwu people practised african traditional religion. The people believe in a Supreme Being known as Chineke [the God or Creator of the heavens]. This belief is based on the worship of ancestral spirits. The ancestors are believed to dwell with the Supreme Being and therefore are the medium through which the living communicates with the Creator. The introduction of Christian Churches and Western education has greatly reduced the practices and the values attached to traditional religion, these traditional beliefs and the existence of shrines and temples are still present in the society. The major language spoken by the Ezeukwu people is Ezeukwu dialet and also general Igbo. The people also communicate in broken english with non-indigenes who don't understand the general ibo. In view of the village and farming setting, indigenes migrate to other Urban area for economic and social infrastructural reasons. The hope for the Ezeukwu people is agriculture. It needs the intervention of the government and donor agencies at a high level to commercialise the production of cassava which will revolutinary the economy of the community and state. Cassava is an important staple food crop grown in Nigeria and  in tropical Africa. It's production plays a major role in the alleviation of the food shortage crisis in the world. It is rich in carbohydrates therefore a  good source of food energy and its year-round availability is a good diet for the health of the population. Cassava flour is partially substituting wheat flour in bakery products. Its all year round availability makes it a food security and commercial crop that lends itself to a commodity approach to poverty alleviation giving cropping and food systems in countries.

What is the approximate size of your Place, in square kilometers? (New question, not required)


What is the estimated population (current 2020) in your Place?


Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.

The callanges that the food system faces include the following:1. Environmental factor. Even though open environment is required for cassava cultivation, strong wind is known to affect it and harsh cases the stems are bent over or broken, resulting in the exposure of tubers to rodents attack. Also Cassava is extremely sensitive to excessive water, it may die if it is in water for only a few days the roots become rotten. In the dry season when the soil is hard, harvesting and peeling tubers for processing are difficult and result in losses. Weather related problems affects yield which include poor soil, land dilapidation and danger imposed by excessive use of fertilizers. 2. Diets. cassava is a source of lively hood and food for millions of Nigerians. Many Nigerian households consume cassava products everyday( garri, wheat-flour, animal feed, commercial caramel, etc.). The protein content is low in cassava and high prussic acid content in the un-processed state, cyanogenic glucosides, linamarin and lotaustralin are big concern to nutritionist and this limits its food and feed values. 3. Socioeconomic factors. The harvesting and transporting of roots from farm to the village and subsequent processing are tedious and done manually. Cassava processing is labor intensive and productivity is usually very low.The drudgery from the traditional processing method is enormous and the products often contaminated with undesirable extraneous matter which make the products un hygienic and of poor market value. Transport of products to markets from is difficult because of the poor condition of rural roads. 4. Technological factors. One of the major challenges of cassava production is the absence of technology to the subsistence farmers in the villages. They don't have access to mechanisationeven at processing (efficient dryers and pelletisers). The greatest constraint to cassava processing is drying which takes up to 4 days to complete with solar energy with apparent loss in quality. But in Ezeukwu the cassava producing community is a relatively higher rainfall zone with longer rainfall months. Therefore solar radiation is relatively low, justifying the need to use dryers extensively for cassava commercialisation. 5. Storage factors. There is no developed storage facility in Nigeria for both the fresh roots or the finished cassava products. Fresh cassava roots cannot be stored for long because they rot within 3-4 days of harvest. They are bulky with about 70% moisture content, therefore transportation of the tubers to urban markets is difficult and expensive. Therefore, cassava must be processed into various forms in order to increase the shelf life of the products otherwise it will be entire waste and loses. 6. Pest and diseases. An emerging threat to cassava production in Nigeria is the cassava mosaic disease (CMD) and mixed infections viruses that destroys the yeild and crop. 7. Inadequate Policy framework and poor implementation has been a challenges to improving cassava cultivation in Nigeria. All of the above factors sum up to affect improve production of cassava and are threats to sustainable food system.

Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.

My vision will address the challenges described aboves as follows: 1. For the envoronmental challenges, cassava can be profitably grown when rainfall is 100-150cm per year and well distributed. It is only during the first few weeks after planting that cassava plant is able to tolerate drought to an appreciable extent. Thus there two seasonal timing of September and March shall be timed for cultivation.  2. The diets challenge shall be handled through improvement of nutritional values of processed products which requires special attention. Cassava is frequently denigrated because its roots are low in protein. However, protein may be supplemented from other sources, particularly legumes. 3. The socioeconomic factors shall be mitigated thriugh the introduction of mechanization in the production and processing methods. this  will improve the life-styles and health of rural people through higher processing efficiency, labor saving and reduced drudgery, all of which improve the quality and yield of products. There will also be development of the market to ensure the absorption of the commercial cassava produced. T. Adequate funding shall be reuired and employed in the mechanisation. 4. The future of farming is technology i.e. mechanisation. The economic success of commercial development of cassava production and processing would depend upon the adaptability of each processing stage to mechanization. In the implementation of this vision, we intend to improve the simple processing equipment technologies presently used to averagely sophisticated and expensive equipment in the entire process of production. This will result in increase yield per land space. 5. For storage mitigation, Good storage will depend on the moisture content of the products, temperature and relative humidity of the storage environment. Processing, particularly drying and roasting, increases shelf life of cassava products. The type of bag used for packing also affects shelf life depending on the ability of the material to maintain safe product moisture levels. 6. The pest and disease control can be achieved through the input selection of high disease resistant cultivars, the use of appropriate herbicides and pesticides at the required age of the crops could effectively control the pest and diseases.  7. Government should ensure adequate Policy framework and improved implementationof sustainable policies. Government should develop a comprehensive policy for the use of cassava as a raw material in the food, feed, and agro industry o to guide cassava
development in Nigeria. 8. There should be more funding from the government and other donors to solve the problem of inadequate capital.


High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.

With the above challenges facing food system and the proferred solutions the Ezeukwu ecomonoy, the lives of the people will be transformed in the following ways: 1. It will help organize the farmers into clusters of commercial Cassava Farmers. 2. Introduce mechanized cassava farming model in with potential increased yield and safe the sufferings from subsistence farming. 3. This will shoot Ezeukwu into number one cassava producers in the region and will attract government attention for the development of social amenities. 4. The vision will activate the rural economy and improve the income of the cassava Farmers. 5. The success of the scheme could attract more agro-allied industries to the community with abundance availability of cassava.

Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?

My vision is to cultivate and process 10,000 tons of cassava roots per annum. This will be community based using the cassava outgrowers approach. In the implementation of this vision a total transformation of the economy of Ezeukwu will be achived and same time contributing significantly to the regenerative and nourishing food future of the the place and the people.

We anticipate the success of this vision understanding the future prospects for cassava utilisation and determining factors to include the following: firstly, that the future development and growth of cassava product utilisation will largely depend on economic development, policy, research and development led factors. That the the importance of policy interventions will remain key to future cassava product market expansion. Secondly, that cassava research, development, technology transfer and industry investments, represent another key group of determining factors. These factors will influence both the supply and demand side for cassava products and thirdly, that the upsurging population growth of the countries, world and  the expected future economic development of cassava producing countries will be directly correlated to increased demands for starches and animal feed stuffs will further expand demand for cassava-based products, especially for higher value products.

With the right agronomics coupled with enabling environment and supportive funding, the future prospecs of cassava utilisation shall futher expend in the following markets: food, feeds and industrialisation.

How did you hear about the Food System Vision Prize?

  • Email
  • Through a friend also.

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1 comment

Join the conversation:

Photo of Itika Gupta

Hi Ekene Unumadu  Great to see you joining the Prize!

We noticed your submission is currently unpublished. Was this your intention? We'd love to have your submission included in the Prize. Even if you've not started populating your Vision just yet, by publishing your submission you can make it public for other teams in your region to see, get in touch and possibly even collaborate with you.

You can publish it by hitting the "Publish" button at the top of your post. You can also update your Vision at any time before 31 January 2020 by clicking on the "Edit Contribution" on top. If you need inspiration or guidance, take a look at the Food Vision Prize Toolkit.
Here is the link to the Prize Toolkit:

Look forward to seeing your Vision evolve through the coming weeks.