Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Tanzania Calls on IITA for Agricultural Development

The Tanzanian Minister of Agriculture, Hussein Mohamed Bashe, has called on the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) to support the country and entire East African region towards cassava, soybean and banana transformation for economic prosperity.

The Tanzanian Minister of Agriculture, Hussein Mohamed Bashe, has called on the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) to support the country and entire East African region towards cassava, soybean and banana transformation for economic prosperity.

The minister made this known in a meeting with researchers from the institute alongside the team for Building an Economically Sustainable Integrated Cassava Seed System, phase 2, (BASICS-II), while stating that the potential of agriculture as a tool for economic prosperity is yet to be unleashed in the country.

BASICS-II was awarded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to the IITA and its partners, by consolidating on the prior investments in BASICS-I in Nigeria and its ongoing sister project in Tanzania called Building an Economically Sustainable Seed System for Cassava in Tanzania (BEST).

IITA Collaborates With Others on Sustainable Cassava Seed System in Africa

The goal of BASICS-II is to enable more efficient dissemination and adoption of new varieties to improve productivity, raise incomes of cassava growers and seed entrepreneurs, enhance gender equity, and contribute to inclusive agricultural transformation in Nigeria and Tanzania.

Bashe explained that cassava is a food security crop and that his meal during Ramadan is not complete without the crop, adding that countries, such as Tanzania, are finding it difficult to compete globally in exports because the average yield per hectare of cassava in the region is still below 10 tons.

IITA Advocates for Improved Cassava Varieties to Boost Production

IITA Hub Director for Eastern Africa, Dr Leena Tripathi, promised that the institute will work with appropriate authorities in Tanzania to tackle agricultural challenges confronting the country, boasting that many technologies are available in IITA to transform banana/plantain, soybean, and cassava.

Project Manager of BASICS-II, Prof Lateef Sanni, suggested the need for Tanzania to learn from Nigeria, especially the Presidential Initiative on Cassava (1999-2007) that drove cassava by linking productivity to markets.

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