The African Development Bank (AfDB) has pledged support for the second phase of the Building an Economically Sustainable and Integrated Cassava Seed System (BASICS-II).
AgroNigeria reported that BASICS II was launched last Thursday by the National Agricultural Seed Council (NASC) and the project’s leading partner, the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (ITTA).
According to the project partners, the new phase is a follow-up to BASICS I (2015-2019) and is aimed at ensuring the continued circulation of quality seeds to Nigerian farmers.
Speaking at the launch last Thursday, AfDB’s Director of the Agriculture and Agro-industry Department, Dr Martin Fregene expressed the institution’s delight at being a part of the scheme.
Fregene said that the lender was partnering with the scheme under its flagship project, Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT).
The director explained that BASIC-II “will not only raise the productivity of African and Nigerian and Tanzanian farmers, but it will also improve productivity along the value chain and make cassava to be a good business for anyone to invest in.”
Other partners in the project, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and the Foundation for Partnership Initiatives in the Niger Delta (PIND) have also pledged support for the scheme.
While PIND pledged to be the project’s platform for sustainability in the Niger Delta, AGRA assured of its commitment towards replicating the projects in other Nigerian states, as well as across Africa.
Executive Director of PIND, Dr Dara Akala, in his remarks reiterated that the foundation will help BASIC-II achieve sustainability in the Niger Delta region.
He said, “Everything we do in PIND is centered around partnerships, and partnerships is at the core of what we have achieved in the Niger Delta.
“Our collaboration with NRCRI Umudike towards the end of BASIC-I led to the pool of Village Seed Entrepreneurs in the Niger Delta.
“So, we are committed to partnering with BASIC-II to consolidate and scale up the results of those initial efforts made in BASIC-I.”
Akala also maintained that the partnership would work out an economically viable seed system in the Niger Delta and also ensure the sustainability of the program.
“PIND, being an institution and not a program that will end in five years’ time, is here in the Niger Delta region to sustain the results of BASIC-II just as we served as the exit strategy for BASICS I,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mohammed Sabo Nanono, has said that BASICS II would build on the achievement of the previous.
AgroNigeria had reported that Nanono delivered the keynote address at the launch of the new phase.
Nanono also praised the initiative for the achievements recorded under BASICS I.
He listed some of the feats recorded to include the development of novel technologies such as the National Seed Tracker.
The seed tracker is an internet-enabled digital data collection tool to monitor seed production planning, seed traceability, seed inventory, seed certification, among others.