By Dayo Johnson
The United States of American (USA) Ambassador to Nigeria, Ms. Robin Sanders has visited Matna Foods Company Limited in Ondo State and lauded it for adding value to cassava production in the country.
According to a statement made available to Vanguard in Akure, the envoy gave the commendation after assessing progress in the company located in Ogbese, Akure North Local Government Area of Ondo State.
Sanders who was on tour of the company to assess the progress made through the collaboration of the United States Agency for International Development with Matna Foods expressed her satisfaction with what she saw.
The statement said Sanders pointed out that the value the company added to cassava roots to produce Matna Cassava Starch was a step which should be extended to other raw materials produced in the country.
The Managing Director of the company, Mr. Albert Akindele, said the company had the capacity to process 150 tonnes of cassava everyday.
Akindele told the envoy that Matna Foods was operating below its installed capacity due to shortage of cassava roots.
He also said that power problem was another challenge the company was facing.
But he expressed delight in the collaboration of USAID with the company in cassava development saying the collaboration would soon result in generating enough cassava roots to run the company.
The managing director stated that the mobilization, training and funding of farmers jointly supported by the USAID and Matna Foods would soon boost cassava production capacity of the country.
According to him â€œ In a bid to boost cassava production capacity of the local farmers, Matna Foods in collaboration with the USAID-MARKETS gives the farmers training on good agricultural practices as well as varieties of cassava stem.â€
Akindele who said that the company was now ready to buy every root of cassava produced by the farmers promised that the loss suffered by some farmers about three years ago due to cassava glut would no longer happen because the company has the capacity to process 45,000 tones of cassava a year.
The Managing Director pointed out that the efforts of the company with the support of the USAID would eventually transform the farmers from subsistence level to commercial production capacity.
He encouraged youths in the area to embrace cassava production saying it had the capacity to change their status from job seekers to employers of labour.