Cassava is a root crop, it is the underground part of the cassava shrub, which is also called Manihot esculenta. It is a root crop, and it is also a perennial crop.Cassava is the third largest source of food (carbohydrates) in the tropics, after rice and maize. Cassava is a primary staple food in the developing world, providing an essential diet for over half a billion people. It is one of the most drought-tolerant crops, capable of growing on marginal soils. Cassava chips production is done in large quantity in Benue State, all the South-South States can key into this line of production. In other to provide jobs and for economy.
Nigeria is the world’s largest producer of cassava globally and produces about 59 million metric tonnes annually, which accounts for about 20% of the global production of cassava.
Cassava can be processed in a verity of ways which include cassava chips production (tapioca), garri (cassava flakes), fufu, starch, cassava flour and pellet.
Cassava chips is an unfermented white product cassava cut into a cylindric shape with a diameter of about 3mm to 5mm, And they are used as carbohydrate base in animal feeds in most parts of Europe and North America, They are also used in pharmaceutical production and can be milled and used in the production of cakes, biscuits, dough-nut, and ethanol.
Two grades of Cassava chips;
● Animal grade cassava chips: This grade of cassava chips is the basic and most commonly exported cassava chips in Nigeria as the standard is not high and only entails cutting and drying the cassava chips.
● Pharmaceutical grade cassava chips: This grade of cassava chips is barely exported from Nigeria as it involves very high-level hygiene, and very quality cassava and a high level of sterilization and also are hugely more expensive than the animal grade.
PRODUCTION PROCESS Of CASSAVA CHIPS
The production process of cassava chips involves simple operations which requires less complex equipment.
The basic procedures are as follows.
Sorting and Weighing OF THE RAW CASSAVA
The harvested cassava roots are first sorted to select the right quality of roots, as well as, to remove immature, pest infected roots and foreign materials before weighing process.
Washing and Peeling of Raw Cassava
The cassava roots are washed in potable running water to remove adhering sand solid debris and dirt. Then they are manually peeled with knives and washed again to remove sand and other dirt further.
The washed, peeled cassava roots are then fed into a cassava chipping machine fabricated to obtain cassava chips of regular sizes and shapes. Alternatively, the tubers can be manually cut into round chips, but these are usually of uniform dimensions.
The wet chips are spread in trays in a cabinet dryer at a predetermined temperature and dried to a required low moisture level.
To produce good quality chips, the roots must be sliced and dried as quickly as possible just after harvest this ensures the chip remains white and increase marketability. The chips should be turned periodically during the drying process, usually two or three sunny days. The chips are considered dry when they are easily broken but too hard to be crumbled by hand. The thickness of the slices also affects the quality of the chips. Thick slices may appear dry on the surface when their internal moisture content is still high.
The dried chips are then allowed to cool naturally to room temperature before packaging.
The cooled, dried chips are vacuum packaged in high-density polythene bags or polypropylene bags lined with high-density polythene bags.
Items Needed For Cassava Chips Production
● Chipping machine
● Rotary dryer
● Packaging machine (stitching and sealing)
● Rapid moisture analyzer
● Automated cyanide analyzer.
Why you should start Cassava Chips Production Business
● Very high-profit margin
● Very high export demand
● Easy and affordable processing procedure mostly for the animal base cassava chips
● High availability of raw material (cassava) as farmers produce more cassava than they can consume.
● Affordable chip raw materials
How Much is needed To Start Cassava Production In Nigeria
The cost and installation of the machinery required for cassava chips production can be estimated to be about eight million five hundred and fifty thousand Naira (N8, 550, 000). This doesn’t entail the cost of acquiring the site of which the plant would be constructed, and also the cost of generators, stitching machines, industrial Scale, Borehole or portable water, and other running costs. This implies that roughly about fifteen million Naira would be required in starting the business in a standard approach..
Challenges Of Cassava Chips Production In Nigeria
Cassava chips production in Nigeria is hampered by many factors which include;
● High Presence Pest And Diseases: the high presence of diseases and pests has dramatically hampered the rate and quality of production of the cassava tubers, which in turn affect the availability of cassava for cassava chips production.
● Inadequate Storage Facilities: Due to the lack of storage facilities, there are usually significant losses of cassava tubers that could not be processed immediately, leading to a high level of wastage and loss of capital.
● Poor Infrastructure: Due to the unavailability of power supply and bad road networks, it dramatically increases the cost of production of this product leading to a reduction in profit margin.
● Lack Of Investment: Cassava chips production is a capital intensive business, therefore needing plenty of funds to start the business, and due to inadequate access to funds by the local producers of this product, it has greatly hampered the production process.
● Lack Of Skilled Labour: The machines used in cassava chips production require some high level of skill to operate, and the unavailability or high cost of the available skilled labour has greatly hampered the production process in this industry.
Cassava chips is locally demanded in large quantity but highly demanded in the international market. You can process and export them to other countries by yourself or sell to buyers of the produce in Nigeria who export the chips to other countries. Check internet you will see a list of buyers or dealers of cassava chips.
There is a very high export demand in China, especially for ethanol production. Nigeria is planning to export chips to China to the tune of 1,100,000T this year. This is a clear indication that Cassava Chips are of very high market value.
The international price of cassava chips fluctuates between $1, 200, and $1,300 per metric tonne. While locally, it is sold at N120, 000 per tonne.
The above facts make the project to be very desirable and economically viable. It is also technically feasible and highly profitable. With a proper management and marketing approach, a minimum profit margin of N20,000 is obtainable from producing a ton of good quality Cassava chips.