The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) has signed a pact with the Nigeria Cassava Growers Association (NCGA) for the second phase of the Building of Economically Sustainable and Integrated Cassava Seed System (BASICS-II) project.
The move will improve cassava seed varieties and will birth a new role for cassava seed producers and root farmers in Nigeria, IITA said.
Director-General of the Institute, Nteranya Sanginga, was represented by the officer in charge of IITA Abuja, Gbassey Tarawali, during the signing.
According to him, the project will provide an opportunity to develop a commercially sustainable model for cassava seed system in the country and in other parts of Africa.
In his words: “We are sealing an alliance by all actors to ensure facilitation and supply of quality certified and disease-free seeds to farmers to help Nigerian smallholders improve their productivity and family income.
“Our vision is to see that at the end of this project, we have a commercially sustainable model for cassava seed system that can be replicated in other parts of Africa.
“Therefore, our model must increase not only farmers’ income but also roots for processors and the industry who will in turn contribute to the socio-economic development of our communities.”
Corroborating Sanginga’s claims, the President of NCGA, Segun Adewumi, said the partnership will revamp the cassava value chain.
He noted that “cassava can trigger industrial revolution in Nigeria”, as it is expected to witness a boom domestically and internationally.
“We are really excited as we look forward to the cassava revolution that will enable our cassava industrial derivatives to compete favourably in the domestic and international market.
“With this development, many of the utility industrial items like ethanol, industrial starch, sweetener and others for which we spend hundreds of billions of Naira to import can be produced in Nigeria,” he said.