Monday, April 22, 2024

IITA Advocates for Improved Cassava Varieties to Boost Production

The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) has stressed the need for farmers in the country to embrace a new seed system approach that could compete globally and keep the price of cassava-based foods stable and affordable in the country.

The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) has stressed the need for farmers in the country to embrace a new seed system approach that could compete globally and keep the price of cassava-based foods stable and affordable in the country.

This was disclosed at a media parley IITA by the project manager of the institute’s BASICS-II project, Prof. Lateef Sanni, who narrated that adopting the improved varieties will improve productivity, raise incomes of cassava growers and seed entrepreneurs and contribute to inclusive agricultural transformation.

Building an Economically Sustainable and Integrated Cassava Seed System (BASICS) was first launched in November 2015 to serve as a channel for delivering better quality and more productive cassava varieties to farmers.

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The second phase of the project was launched in June, 2021 with a duration of 5 years to focus on Nigeria and Tanzania and replicate the cassava seed system model to other African countries by leveraging on private sector solutions

According to him, the goal of BASICS-II project is to provide farmers with access to affordable, quality-assured seeds of improved cassava varieties in demand by local food and processor markets through the establishment of a commercially viable seed value chain.

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“Countries like Brazil, China, Thailand, Vietnam, and even Cambodia are reaping “gold” from cassava. These countries do not record less than 30 tons per hectare. However, farmers in Nigeria produce less than 10 tons due to poor performing seeds,” Prof. Sanni said.

The project’s Advocacy, Promotions and Outreach Lead, Dr. Godwin Atser, said apart from its economic and sustainability elements, the BASICS mode has a job creation component and that the project has created over 400 cassava seed entrepreneurs in Benue, Kogi, Abia, Delta, Cross River and Akwa Ibom States.

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