Buying cassava tuber directly from farmers still remains the best raw material procurement option for any Commercial Garri Processor any day. Like we always say, unlike in Fufu processing; garri processing operation does not have the luxury of accommodating additional price mark up by suppliers. The only condition that will make a Commercial Garri Processor settle for supply through third party merchant is only if the landing cost of the the tuber at his factory is within 45% of the target revenue from selling the Garri produced from such supplied tuber. Even at the period of the worst raw material scarcity, on no account the landing cost of tuber cross beyond 50% expected proceed from selling the finished garri produced from such supply. Else, heavy loss is imminent.
At any given time, either buying on the farm or through supply, knowing the appropriate amount to pay for a particular quantity of tubers (either harvested or yet to be harvested) is a very crucial skill that every processor has to master over time. This is directly linked to having the knowledge of probable quantity of garri expected from a given quantity of tuber. Even without measuring the tubers in kilograms or tons, I can tell the approximate expected garri yield by mere seeing the heap load or bags of cassava tuber. This ability, in addition to its primary importance also help as an early check for cases of pilfering in your factory.
From experience, my standard expectation or average yield from a ton of cassava tuber when producing fermented, well dried garri (Grade A) is approximately 235kg. This is an equivalent of almost 3.5 bags (22 custard rubbers) of white fermented and well dried (Grade A) garri. For the yellow garri production, 1 ton of tuber will yield not less than 250kg of garri averagely. Same applies to white non- fermented garri popularly known as Bendel Garri or Delta Garri. Please note that choosing the right variety of cassava and engaging in good production practices that prevents wastages are also key factors that determine production yield in garri processing.
It is with the knowledge that the landing cost of tuber should not be more than 45% of expected revenue from the finished product that a processor should use in negotiating or pricing cassava tuber. For instance, the going off take rate for good quality white garri is N13,500 and 1 ton of tuber is expected to yield 3.5 bags as stated above. This means the total revenue expected from selling garri produced from that 1 ton of tuber is N47,250. Using the 45% raw material mark ratio, this means that on no account should the landing cost of that 1 ton of tuber goes beyond N21,263. The worst case scenario is N23,625, which is 50% of the expected sales revenue.
As unrealistic as this price may look, this is the sad reality that makes it difficult for Garri processors to be unable to compete with other cassava processors in buying cassava. This is the reason why it is pertinent for a garri processor to locate his processing facility within a farm area where cassava is abundantly cultivated in order to get at cheap price and also avoid additional heavy cost of transportation.
So, when you are buying already harvested cassava tuber on the farm with the expected yield as stated above, you must take cognisant of the cost of the likely cost of transportation to your factory (which is expected not to be far from the farm) in agreeing price for the tuber. In such situation that you are using a vehicle that will load up to 3 tons at a go, and with a budget of N10,000 – N15,000 as transport cost. What you should be offering for 1 ton of tuber should not be more than N17,000 – N18,000 (on the farm). Your discretionary weightage ability comes to fore in places where scaling is not available.
Buying yet to be harvested cassava comes with its own risks and complications also, despite being one of the best buying options for processors who have mastered the acts. also. In doing this, the knowledge of cassava farm assessment is very crucial. I always advise that processors engage the service of the locals in doing such farm assessment while they also learn the techniques involve over time.
On a normal ground, it is expected that an acre of even spaced and well matured cassava farm yield up to 6 tons of tubers. So when negotiating for already assessed and certified okay one acre cassava farm with the condition that the buyer takes care of the harvesting, a processor should only offer in the range N90,000 per acre; knowing fully well that harvesting an acre will cost between N10,000 – N15,000.
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Apart from measuring the cassava farm in acre (which is 6 plots/units of 60ft by 120ft), there are other local methods peculiar to different areas. One of this is the usage of ‘IGBA’; which means 200 heaps. This is an equivalent three – quarter of a plot of land in many cases. So, in approaching this, one can run the price calculations with the fact that an acre (which the price has been stipulated as N90,000) will contain 1,600 heaps. Thus; one ‘IGBA’ (which is 200 heaps) should be priced in the range of N11,000 to N12,000. Alternative is to uproot 3 to 4 heaps at different locations and check an average weight of the tuber per heap. This should be around 3.5kg. If this is so, this still brings you down to paying N11,000 – N12,000 per ‘IGBA’.
Apart from Commercial Garri Processors, this knowledge of valuation of cassava farm is also useful to cassava merchants who procure directly from farmers and supply to companies.
As we shall be entering the cassava scarcity seasons comes 2024, I advise every serious minded Commercial Garri Processors to endeavour to cultivate some acres of cassava farm as back up against that coming season. Many of us that experienced the 2020/2021 cassava scarcity seasons would understand the ugly fate that befell Garri Processors during that time.
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