Agricultural stakeholders have called on private sector players to harness opportunities in the emerging formal seed system for cassava in Nigeria.
Stakeholders made this call during the Building an Economically Sustainable and Integrated Cassava Seed System, Phase II (BASICS-II) project’s first Cassava Seed Business Summit 2021.
The summit was convened virtually by the Sahel Consulting Agriculture and Nutrition Limited on Tuesday under the theme: “The Critical Roles of Stakeholders in Promoting Access to Quality Cassava Stems”
According to the event convener, it was organised to bring attention to the importance of creating a formal system in the cassava value chain.
It also seeks to provide a platform for cassava stakeholders to collaborate, share the BASICS-II model and innovations that would encourage the emergence of an economically viable and sustainable formal cassava seed system, Convener added
The Director-General, National Agricultural Seeds Council, NASC, Dr Phillip Ojo, described the summit as timely, coming when Nigeria is faced with challenges that only a robust cassava seed sector can address.
In his opening remark, Director, Development & Delivery at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, IITA, Dr Alfred Dixon, emphasised the significance of cassava as an engine in Africa’s socio-economic growth and development.
According to Dixon, increasing competitiveness in the cassava value chain would ensure food security, alleviate poverty, and improve livelihoods in Nigeria and sub-Saharan Africa.
On his part, the Executive Director of NRCRI, Prof Ukpabi Joseph Ukpabi, showed great delight at the emergence of the Cassava Seed Business Summit at this crucial time.
Ukpabi, who was represented by a Director at NRCRI, Dr Joseph Onyeka, noted that the Summit will help to mobilize capital and human resources needed to ensure timely, adequate, and profitable interventions in the cassava value chain.
Meanwhile, in his closing remark, Project Manager, BASICS-II project, Prof Lateef Sanni, said that he will do his best to promote engagements with the private sector actors in cassava seed production adding that they play critical roles in cassava transformation
However, it was gathered that over 92 cassava seed sector stakeholders were in attendance at the virtual summit