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Showing posts with label cassava. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cassava. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Workshop participants confirm capacity gaps on cassava, maize, rice and cattle farmers - NaijaAgroNet

Participants at a three-day workshop by the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) rose affirm that there are capacity gaps on cassava, maize, rice and cattle farmers, reports NaijaAgroNet.

They also reaffirmed FARA readiness to leverage Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) programme to support the African Development Bank and the Regional Agricultural Transformation Programmes supported by the World Bank, reports NaijaAgroNet.

This is in addition to partnership mapping of FARA’s Holistic Empowerment for Livelihood Programme (HELP), describing it as an opportunity matrix on available partnerships and training opportunities in Brazil, Cuba, Egypt & India, will be used to develop HELP country-based approach capacity building and innovation network that feed into the larger initiatives.

Speaking at the workshop, the Executive Director of FARA, Dr Yemi Akinbamijo, declared that the march towards a food secure Africa and meeting the overarching developmental targets requires holistic capacity development approach to strengthen individual, organizational and systemic capacities.

FARA he said, recognizes the South-South collaboration framework as an important vehicle, stressing that the philosophy behind HELP is the promotion of triangular collaboration involving the private sector, universities/research centres and policy makers among African countries and their counter parts in the so-called South, based on solidarity that breaks the traditional donor-recipient relationship, under a win-win situation.

Isaac Oyimah/GEE

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Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Sustainable seed businesses to transform cassava production in Nigeria

Stakeholders have said that businesses selling improved varieties and high quality cassava stems for cultivation could help African farmers significantly raise their productivity, especially in Nigeria, reports NaijaAgroNet.

This, NaijaAgroNet gathered will mean more Naira from the same land, inputs and effort.

Stakeholders at the end of a national conference on cassava seed system organized by the project, “Building an Economically Sustainable Integrated Cassava Seed System” (BASICS) that was held at the Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) (, Ibadan last week Thursday.

“The benefits of this raised productivity will be enjoyed by all the stakeholders across the value chain in a sustainable way,” part of the resolution stated.

The meeting, which reflected on the experiences of BASICS in 2016 and refined the project plan for 2017 and beyond, brought together national and international researchers, academics, policymakers, the private sector, non-governmental organizations and farmers to a roundtable.

Making the case for urgent need for all the stakeholders to work towards a sustainable seed system in Nigeria, Hemant Nitturkar, Project Director for BASICS, reminded the participants that Nigeria is the largest producer of cassava in the world with a production of about 54 million tons, but its yield per hectare of cassava roots is about 8 tons, less than half of the realizable yields of more than 20 tons per hectare. Researchers say one of the factors responsible for the low yield of cassava is the low adoption of clean and healthy seeds of improved varieties of cassava by farmers.

“We have to start with the right planting material and nurture it with good agronomy and weed management practices. Each of these three components has the potential to raise the productivity of cassava by 30 percent. If we do not improve our practices in seed, weed and agronomy, we are incurring a lost opportunity of about 200 billion Naira annually from each of the three issues,” he explained.

BASICS is commercially piloting two distinct pathways of seed delivery. In one, called Village Seed Entrepreneur (VSE) model, in partnership with Catholic Relief Services (CRS) in Benue and with National Roots Crop Research Institute (NRCRI), in Abia, Imo, Cross Rivers and Akwa Ibom states, the project is helping develop a network of 130 community based seed enterprises. These VSEs will source certified stems of improved varieties of cassava from NRCRI and IITA to multiply and sell to the farmers in their vicinity. This way, the farmers will not have to go far to source quality stems for planting. In the second pilot called Processor Led Model (PLM), in partnership with Context Global Development, the project is working with large processors of cassava who will then make available quality stems to their outgrowers with a buy back arrangement for the roots produced.

Slow and low multiplication ratio has been a key constraint in cassava seed system. The project is piloting a new technology called Semi-Autotrophic Hydroponics (SAH) for vastly rapid seed multiplication. Once this technology from Argentina is adapted and perfected in Nigeria by the Project, it is expected to have a significant impact on the ability of early generation seed businesses to quickly bring suitable varieties within reach of farmers. The project is also working with National Agricultural Seed Council (NASC) and Fera of UK to improve the quality certification system in Nigeria.

Lawrence Kent, a senior program officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said the aim of the Project is to build an economically sustainable seed system that is profitable both to the sellers of quality stems and to the farmers who purchase and plant those stems. He encouraged all to create reusable bridges to continuously link technology developers with farmers through business oriented approaches, like the one being implemented under BASICS.

Graham Thiele, Director for the CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas led by the International Potato Center (CIP); Alfred Dixon, IITA Director for Development and Delivery, and Project Leader for the Cassava Weed Management Project; Amin Babandi, Director of Agriculture, FMARD, represented by Segun Ayeni, Deputy Director, Roots and Tuber crops, FMARD; Folusho Olaniyan OON, CEO, Contact Consulting Nigeria and Program Director, AgraInnovate West Africa; Emmanuel Okogbenin, Director of Technical Operations, AATF and Robert Asiedu, Director R4D, IITA-West, all shared perspectives and added their voice for all stakeholders to jointly build a strong and sustainable seed system for cassava in Nigeria and wished all the stakeholders well.

Isaac Oyimah/GEE
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Thursday, December 29, 2016

Anambra concludes plan to commercialise cassava production

The Anambra State government has concluded plans to commercialise cassava production by 2017, reports NaijaAgroNet.

This development, NaijaAgroNet gathered is being put together under the Fadama III additional financing, which is expected to go into value chain additional commercial production of cassava next year.

Commissioner for Agriculture, Mechanization, Processing and Export, Mr. Afam Mbanefo, told participants at a meeting with agro dealers, Chester chairmen, micro finance banks, rice and cassava off-takers on how best to maximize implementation arrangements of the project, stressing that what had been achieved in commercial production of quality, stone free rice, would be replicated in quality production of various cassava products, so that cassava farmers could make more profits.

Mbanefo also said, Governor Willie Obiano was very much committed to taking all aspects of agricultural production in the state to enviable heights, noting that any farmer in the state who was not prepared to maximize and commercialize agriculture, should quit agriculture.

He warned against any form of dishonesty or politics towards the realization of the state’s agricultural revolution, noting that the sector was a sure way of boosting the state’s economy.

The State Project Coordinator for FADAMA, Mr. Patrick Egbueh, said that the forum was intended to bring both the project and the investors together to identify areas that were not working well and effect correction in line with the implementation arrangements of the project.

NaijaAgroNet further gathered that stakeholders in attendance assured on their readiness to collaborate with the farmers in terms of credit facilities, provided the farmers met their conditions.

Ozo Nweke Ozo in Awka/GEE
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Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Farmers urged to embrace corporatives, technologies

Bank of Industry (BoI) has urged Nigerian farmers to embrace corporatives and technologies to boost agric-business development in the country, especially cassava so as to make it profitable, reports NaijaAgroNet.

The Managing Director, Mr. Rasheed Olaoluwa, represented by Group Head, Agro Processing Unit of BOI, Mrs. Kadafa Lolo Ruth made this call at a one-day stakeholders consultative meeting in Lagos.

BOI also noted that lots of farmers are individualistic and seldom come together as a team to have a registered corporative or association which could enable them to access loans from financial institutions.

“Many farmers come to the Bank of Industry to seek for loans but they do not have any tractable sales record or evidence of market sales, they cannot present convincing workable proposals or a clear thought-out business frame work that could enable them secure loans,” Olaoluwa said.

He, therefore, charged farmers to integrate and collaborate with like-minds, utilize technological tool to improve the quality of the produce and package them as premium brands that consumers will be willing to pay for.

Equally speaking at occasion, Sales Director for Bosch West Africa, Mr. Francis Omoniyi said, “Bosch will be giving one year free service maintenance to customers that purchase any of their tools and educate them on how to fully utilize the equipment” stressing that Bosch wants to assist in boosting the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by structuring agric business via capacity building.

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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

NCRRI, others plan genetically modified cassava for Africa

The National Crops Resources Research Institute (NCRRI) in Uganda and Kenya and other research agencies are currently  developing cassava varieties under a collaborative project termed ‘virus resistant cassava for Africa,’ NaijaAgroNet reports.

The project which also involves Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization, and the Donald Danforth Plant Centre, is aimed at developing cassava varieties that are not only resistant to viruses but also preferred by farmers. When supported and released, these cassava varieties have the potential of saving farmers preferred varieties which had been abandoned because they were susceptible to cassava brown streak disease.

An agriculturist, science writer and an advocate on science-based interventions in solving agricultural challenges in developing countries, Isaac Ongu, said farmers are not only looking for resistant cassava but cassava with the familiar taste that they and their children have always eaten and enjoyed.

Genetic engineering, he said, has a great potential to preserve farmers’ desirable traits with minimum variation compared to conventional breeding that always register marked differences in tastes and texture of cassava. This project, NaijaAgroNet gathered, is not only trying to deliver resistant cassava but could rescue farmers’ preferred varieties that have been abandoned because of the viruses.

Scientists are improving cassava because of its potential in guaranteeing household food security as well as its potential as an industrial raw materials in brewery, bakery, fuel and pharmaceuticals. Anti GMO activists too are resisting biotech cassava because of its potential to deflate the balloon of lies surrounding GM crops. They are frankly scared that the new GM cassava with its focus of preserving farmers preferred traits stands a high chance of being adopted by several households — if it’s not blocked.

Anti GMO activists have intentionally twisted the fact that intercropping would work well with most genetically modified crops and misinform and scare farmers, alleging that all GM crops cannot be intercropped. One of the crops they are targeting is genetically modified and nutritionally enhanced cassava, which has been tweaked to be virus resistant, protecting Africa’s most important staple against two of the most virulent cassava viruses in Africa, the cassava brown streak disease and cassava Mosaic disease.

Cyriacus Nnaji/GEE

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Pix: Isaac Ongu

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Cassava is foodstuff, industrial raw material

Cassava has been identified as crucial to food security for millions of Africans, and now the shrub’s potential for industrial purposes is being considered, says a professor at the school of molecular and cell biology,Wits University South Africa. Prof. Chrissie Rey, reports NaijaAgroNet.

Speaking on the versatility of the crop, Prof. Rey said its used in several products including flour, paper, textiles, food additives and animal feed.

"The main thrust of cassava in South Africa is for industrial purposes and the use of biotechnology to improve the crop for agro-processing," noted Prof. Rey who has been studying the shrub since the 1980s.

According to Rey,other countries on the continent have always been interested in cassava for food security but all cassava-growing countries are getting interested in its industrial potential.

Rey says herinterest on studying the plant was because its roots are a valuable source of starch. "The need for root-based starch will rise in the next 50 years. Cassava is a potentially valuable crop and the South African government is interested in exploring that potential for small-scale and commercial farmers," she says.

The crop is also used to produce bio-ethanol, which is used in small stoves instead of paraffin. The bio-ethanol produced from cassava is cleaner for the environment, she pointed out.

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Pix: Cassava tubers

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Researchers target at agribusiness

Research activities in the agricultural sector over the last 12 months are majorly targeted at improving productivity of the sector as well as improving the lives of farmers, particularly the small holder farmers.
Just recently was the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and Afe Babalola University Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD), to unleash the potential of agriculture and natural resources in Africa.
The MoU is to help in building the critical human capital to address present and future challenges like climate change, pest and disease of the agricultural sector. It will also look into the development of the sector while engaging the youths and giving them the needed tools to be fruitful.
The 2012 edition of Global Cassava Partnership for the 21st Century (GCP21) held in June in Uganda had over 300 global leading cassava researchers in attendance who discussed the ways to improve productivity of cassava with the use of scientific research and development approach.
As a body working on research and development of cassava crop, GCP21 has 45 member institutions conducting research about the crop.
NaijaAgroNet recalled that researchers at the GCP21 urge concerned stakeholders dialogue with farmers and other stakeholders using scientific and technical meetings that farmers can actually leverage on research and development for a better productivity.
Other issues discussed during the conference include seeking smart strategies, funding opportunities and catalyzing solutions to tackle technical challenges like cassava genomics, and bringing about a significant transformation in cassava in order to impact people’s lives, especially those that depend on the crop for survival.
On the other side, The Wellcome Trust late 2011 granted the sum of £500,000 about N128.044 million for a research on how humans influence domestic dogs.
The study which happens to be the largest studies into the relationship between man and dog looked into the way man breed, feed, train and socialize with dogs.
Also earlier in 2012, the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) hosted a gathering of United Kingdom (UK) Parliamentarians and Civil Servants, African farmers, international donors and scientists which called for a reshape of agricultural research which would serve as developmental goals and work towards public good.
Items that topped the agenda of the gathering include plant breeding and seed selection, options for managing soil fertility, options for developing accessible markets, ways of governing, organising, funding and practising research.
The types of policies needed to transform Africa’s agriculture, comprising changes to tenure, subsidies and investment were also discussed.

Yinka Awosanya/LS
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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

IITA boosts food security in Cameroon with cassava varieties

At the presentation of the cassava varieties
The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in a bid to boost the agricultural sector in Cameroon on food security has unveiled improved cassava varieties.
IITA revealed to NaijaAgroNet in a press statement that five new improved cassava varieties were released to safeguard the lives of millions of Cameroonians.
These varieties namely with genotypes TMS 92/0326, TMS 96/1414, TMS 96/0023, TMS 92/0057, and TMS 92/0067, according to IITA were developed through conventional breeding by the institute and some other partners.
The improved varieties would improve nutritional values through the provision of caratenoids, iron and zinc as they have an estimated 20 tonnes to 35 tonnes per hectare.
Programme National de Development des Racines et Tubercules (PNDRT), the Institute of Agricultural Research for Development (IRAD), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), non-governmental organizations as well as local farmers partnered IITA on this project.
According to the IITA Director General, Dr Nteranya Sanginga, who was quoted as saying that the varieties would help close the yield gaps while improving yield and increasing farmers' revenue especially those that rely on cassava for livelihood.
"IITA will continue to support farmers in Cameroon by offering improved varieties and technologies that address the constraints to development in tropical nations," the IITA boss said.
Cameroonian Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Essimi Menye commended the efforts of IITA in developing these varieties, adding that the new they would assist the nation to take advantage of the opportunities of the crop which is one of the major staples in Cameroon.
As said by IITA, Cassava in Cameroon is either boiled and eaten, or processed into local delicacies such as Mitumba, Baton de manioc, Beignets de manioc, gari, and Ndas among others. Other use includes ethanol production, inclusion in bread production ad glucose syrup production.

 Yinka Awosanya/LS
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Monday, September 10, 2012

ECOWAS partner UNDP to boost food production

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have partnered in a scheme towards value addition for a number of key crops in the West Africa sub-region.
The partnership seeks to boost food production in the sub-region while creating jobs, increasing farmers' income opportunities and Small and Medium Enterprise that deal with cash crops.
Some of the crops sidelined for the initiative include mangoes, onions and cassavas. NaijaAgroNet learnt that Cassava has been chosen following its classification as staple food in Sierra Leone and Ghana over the past three years while Nigeria is on the forefront of its producers in the region.
Nigeria, Burkina Faso and Mali are the leading producers of onion in the region, however NaijaAgroNet further gathered that these three countries face stiff competition from farmers in Europe, Asia and North Africa as regards quality and packaging.

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Monday, June 18, 2012

300 leading cassava researchers to attend GCP21

About 300 global leading cassava researchers and stakeholders would attend Global Cassava Partnership for the 21st Century (GCP21) scheduled to hold between June 18 and 22, 2012.
The international cassava conference to be held in Uganda would focus on improving cassava productivity through scientific research and development.
The organisers in a press release made available to NaijaAgroNet stated that GCP21 consists of 45 member institutions working on research and development of cassava.
The Cassava Global Partnership, NaijaAgroNet learnt advocates for cassava issues while leveraging research and development by facilitating dialogue among farmers and stakeholders through scientific and technical meetings.
The partnership also seeks smart strategies, funding opportunities and catalyzing solutions to technical challenges like cassava genomics.
The chairman of GCP21-II, and scientist at NaCRRI, Dr. Yona Baguma said the greatest reward of his life time would be to bring about a significant transformation in cassava to impact on peoples' lives especially those who depend on the crop.
GCP21, in 2011 had initiated several research projects totaling over $60 million, about N9.6 billion in grants in the areas of cassava genomics, genetic engineering, biofortification, genetics and biology.
The report of the research projects would be presented at GCP21-II.
Participants will exchange knowledge and experiences in the areas of socio-economics, biodiversity and genetic resources, post-harvest, starch modification, nutrition, genomics, molecular genetic markers and gene discovery, tissue culture and transformation, biotic and abiotic stresses, participatory research and technology transfer.
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Monday, January 2, 2012

FG plans ban of imported cassava flour by March

The Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) has concluded plans to ban the importation of cassava flour by March this year, even as it offers 12 per cent rebate for attaining 40 per cent blending for cassava break bakers.

Addressing recently the members of the joint National Assembly session in Abuja, the federal capital territory on the 2012 budget, President Goodluck Jonathan disclosed this.

He said that the government is also introducing policies to encourage the substitution of high quality cassava flour for wheat flour in bread-baking.

Noting that wheat flour for bread-baking is usually imported into the country, but with the substitution, Nigeria would be saving huge sums of money, especially in the capital flight.

Bakeries, according to him, would have 18 months, that is, from March when the ‘cassava flour’ policy takes effect to make the transition and enjoy a corporate tax incentive of 12 per cent rebate if they attain 40 per cent blending.

“With effect from March 31st 2012, importation of cassava flour will be prohibited so as to further support this programme,” he said.

NaijaAgroNet gathered that as noted by him, all equipment for processing of high quality cassava flour and composite flour blending will enjoy a duty free regime as incentive to bakers for composite flour utilization.

Consultations, he said, is on-going with the sector to ensure a smooth transition.

“It is common wisdom that the best way we can grow our economy and create jobs for our people is for us to patronize Nigerian-made goods,” he said.

Jonathan said this is why his government is introducing enabling policies to drive this process. Hence, they are introducing fiscal policy measures that will encourage the purchase and utilization of locally produced commodities.

From July 1st 2012, he said, wheat flour will attract a levy of 65 per cent to bring the effective duty to 100 per cent, while wheat grain will attract a 15 per cent levy which will bring the effective duty to 20 per cent.

Equally, Mr. President revealed in his address made available to NaijaAgroNet that there will be a levy of 25 per cent on brown rice to bring it to 30 per cent and in addition, to encouraging domestic rice production, a levy of 40 per cent will be placed on imported polished rice leading to an effective duty rate of 50 per cent.

“Effective December 31st 2012, all rice millers should move towards domestic production and milling of rice, as the levy of 50 per cent will be further raised to 100 per cent,” he said, stressing that there will be no waivers or concessions for rice and wheat importation by end of this year, 2012.

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