Monday, April 22, 2024

NextGen Introduces New Cassava Varieties to Farmers

The NextGen Cassava Project, in its effort to boost cassava production, has released five new improved cassava varieties designed to have a significant impact on food security, agro-industrialization, and enhance farmers’ income in Nigeria and across Sub-Saharan Africa.

The NextGen Cassava Project, in its effort to boost cassava production, has released five new improved cassava varieties designed to have a significant impact on food security, agro-industrialization, and enhance farmers’ income in Nigeria and across Sub-Saharan Africa.

The Project Director, NextGen Cassava Project, Professor Chiedozie Egesi, while speaking at the Annual Project Meeting in Abuja, disclosed that the project is currently being introduced to cassava farmers across Nigeria, and that they are also showcasing them to other African countries.

NextGen experts have radically transformed cassava breeding practices across sub-Saharan Africa and beyond, through constant quality control improvements such as the incorporation of disease-resistant germplasm from Latin America (the birthplace of cassava) into breeding populations.

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The project director made it known that the project has been ongoing for about 10 years, leading to the training of about 40 scientists on improved cassava breeding techniques across the five continents where the project is being implemented – Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, and Australia.

Egesi noted that in order to ensure proper implementation of the technology, the project was being carried out in collaboration with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and the National Root and Crop Research Institute (NRCRI), who have in turn partnered with seed companies to produce the cassava, stem and make them available to farmers.

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He explained that they created awareness among farmers about the new varieties through a product launch in Kogi and Benue states, adding that they plan to introduce the product to South East farmers during the 2023 rainy season.

The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Dr Ernest Umakhihe, while declaring the meeting open, stated that for Nigeria to benefit from the comparative advantage of being the largest producer of cassava globally, there was a need for concerted efforts by all stakeholders to facilitate the genetic improvement of cassava.

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