UNDP supported solar-powered agro-processing plant adds value to cassava in Buruku, Benue StateJun 1, 2017
UNDP and Energy Commission of Nigeria (ECN) visited Igyoali farm in Buruku LGA, Benue State to assess the completion of solar-powered agro-processing equipment. The project, implemented by UNDP and ENC, is the first cassava processing project fully powered by energy from the sun energy in Nigeria. Two additional pilot UNDP-ENC solar-powered ago-processing projects are currently ongoing in Ebonyi and Nasarawa states.
During the project site visit Mbateva-mbatyou community demonstrated the operational process of converting raw cassava to garri using solar-powered equipment. Five main stages are involved in the process: peeling, girding, compressing, frying, and filtering. All the stages, excluding compressing and frying, are operated by solar-powered equipment. The equipment, which is in full operation is easing the work and resources required to turn raw cassava into garri, one of the most popular sources of starch in the country.
After a successful test of solar-powered ago-processing equipment, a meeting was held with senior community members and representative the women group. The meeting was aimed at enhancing cooperation with and support from the community to ensure the proactive participation of women group in the project and the maintenance of the facility. “Thanks to UNDP project, women can participate in whole cassava processing, especially compressing stage which previously required manual power,” said one of the community members benefitting from the project.
The project will help local communities in saving on income as they will be bearing minimal cost for maintaining the facility unlike before when they relied on other sources of energy. This will consequently reduce on the level of deforestation there will be no need for use of woodfuel in the processing of cassava as before. The equipment installed is also very efficient – will result in less wastage during the production process.
UNDP and ECN will provide the community with continuous technical support to ensure the project maximizes benefits to the community and expand the solar-powered agro-processing project based on critical evaluation and analysis on outcomes from pilot projects.