The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, IITA, National Agricultural Seed Council, NASC, and National Root Crops Research Institute, NRCRI, Thursday, disclosed efforts made to meet farmers’ demand of over N10 billion on cassava stems. Experts from IITA, NASC, and NRCRI said developing a cassava seed system would help Nigeria to transform cassava and meet the growing demand for cassava seeds.
According to them in 2020, the Central Bank of Nigeria-midwifed programme to develop cassava seed growers on 100,000 hectares across the country created a huge demand for improved and disease-free planting materials that surpassed supply.
Director for Development & Delivery, IITA, Dr Alfred Dixon, who led a delegation of experts on a courtesy visit to the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Muhammad Nanono, said, “Last year, the demand for certified cassava stems from cassava growers was estimated at N10 billion.
The courtesy visit, which was coordinated in the framework of the IITA-managed project known as the Building an Economically Sustainable Integrated Cassava Seed System, phase 2, (BASICS-II); provided an opportunity for experts to draw the attention of high-level decision-makers to the untapped opportunity that cassava seed system offers in terms of food security, jobs and income generation.
Dixon noted that IITA through the BASICS-II project was already working with partners and farmers to tap the opportunity, explaining that the project was creating a formal seed system for cassava that links breeder seeds with foundation seed producers and foundation seed producers to commercial seed entrepreneurs.
“The commercial seed producers will thereafter sell to the cassava root producer and cassava root producers will subsequently process into various end products or sell surplus roots to processing industries in the Country.