In the tropics, Cassava, the most drought-tolerant crop, is the third (3rd) largest source of food carbohydrates, after rice and maize. It is grown in tropical regions around the world because of its ability to withstand difficult growing conditions. Nigeria is the world’s largest producer of cassava.
According to the 2019 and 2020 data of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Ghana has been rated as the fourth (4th) largest producer of cassava in the world in both years. Ghana recorded a total production of 21.81 million metric tonnes, an increase in volume compared to the 19.37 million metric tonnes recorded in 2019.
Find below the comparison of the levels of cassava production between 1992 and 2020;
i. Largest production between 1992 and 1996 is 7.11 million recorded in 1996
ii. Largest production between 1996 and 2000 is 8.10 million recorded in 2000
iii. Largest production between 2000 and 2004 is 10.24 million recorded in 2003
iv. Largest production between 2004 and 2008 is 11.35 million recorded in 2008
v. Largest production between 2008 and 2012 is 14.55 million recorded in 2012
vi. Largest production between 2012 and 2016 is 17.80 million recorded in 2016
vi. Largest production between 2016 and 2020 is 21.81 million recorded in 2020
The above data and analysis indicates that the highest production of cassava recorded under the fourth Republic of Ghana ranges between 2017 and 2020, therefore, it totally refutes the argument by the Ranking Member of Food, Agriculture, and Cocoa Affairs Committee of Parliament, Eric Opoku that, the Ministry of Agriculture has been importing tonnes of cassava from China since 2019 to increase Ghana’s depleting cassava stock.
Because, if lower productions in the previous years didn’t spur for cassava importation, then how more the highest productions under the 4th Republic of the Nation. In fact, Ghana’s production in 2020 remains the largest production since 1993. Mr. Eric Opoku is as well the Member of Parliament (MP) for Asunafo South Constituency.
It is worthy of note that, according to FAO, China is the fourteenth (14th) largest producer of cassava for both 2019 and 2020 with an average production of 4.9 million metric tonnes. So how can Ghana which produces approximately 22.0 million metric tonnes be importing from China which produces just a quarter of Ghana’s production.
According to the 2020 data by the Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC), China is the largest importer of cassava in the world. China basically imports more raw cassava to serve as raw material to supplement their limited local production to spur their nation’s industrial production of processed cassava such as alcohol, starch, flour and other derivatives of cassava, for local consumption and export.
In addition, according to OEC, Ghana is the 54th largest exporter of cassava in the world, while Nigeria, the largest producer of cassava in the World, is the 56th exporter of cassava in the world. This means, Ghana is a larger exporter of cassava than even Nigeria. According to the FAO data, Nigeria recorded a total production of 60 million metric tonnes of cassava in 2020.
Nigeria is the 65th largest importer of cassava and Ghana is the 163rd largest importer of cassava in the world. And it is instructive to note that, the imported cassava in this regard is not raw cassava but processed cassava products or industrial cassava like starch, ethanol, flour, tapioca, among other derivatives of cassava which are needed by factories for the manufacture of drugs, textiles, papers, tapes, amongst others in these respective countries. These imported industrial or processed cassava for use by the factories in these respective countries are either not produced in the respective countries or produced, but not in quantities enough to cater for the manufacturing needs of these factories.
The aforementioned analysis corroborated with the appropriate facts and recognized source of references as a result goes on to affirm the argument that, the concocted claim by Mr. Eric Opoku, the Ranking Member of Food, Agriculture, and Cocoa Affairs Committee of Parliament that, Ghana imports raw cassava from China is false, unmeritorious and deceptive. It is just propaganda with an intent to mislead, therefore, the public should treat it with the contempt it appropriately deserves.
Hhhmm, May God be praised always
By Nana Kwadwo Akwaa