The Director, Global Cassava Partnership (GCP21) of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Dr Claude Fauguet on Tuesday said Africa needed 30 tonnes per hectare of cassava by 2050 from the current nine tonnes per hectare.
Speaking at a news conference in Lagos to announce the 4th International Cassava Conference, the Director said comparatively that Africa currently produced about 10 tonnes per hectare of cassava, while Latin America and Asia currently produced 12 tonnes and 22 tonnes per hectare respectively.
According to Fauguet, Africa needed more science in the cultivation of cassava because its population and Nigeria, especially will double by 2050.
“Africa needs transformation in the cultivation of cassava, otherwise, there will be a major food problem by 2050 if cassava remains less than 10 tonnes per hectare. We need to change the yield of cassava. Cassava is grown in 106 countries, Africa is 55 per cent while Latin America and Asia grows 12 and 33 per cent respectively.
“To improve yield per hectare does not necessarily mean to apply mechanisaction but to improve the overall system from the soil, the seeds or stem, weed control and others. It is proven that when you properly weed at day 60, the yield will improve, so, we need to adopt good agricultural practices to ensure that we feed our population,” he said.
Fauguet said that though Nigeria was a big weight in the production of cassava in the world, it was not yet meeting the cassava needs of Nigerians.
He disclosed that Benin Republic currently produced more cassava per head than Nigeria; Nigeria produces the highest but in comparison to the population, Nigeria was not doing enough.
The GCP21 is an international cassava conference scheduled to hold in Cotonou, Benin Republic, the 4th in its series to showcase the potential embedded in cassava.
The conference which will attract investors from Brazil and others heavy wigs in the Cassava value chains is tagged; “Transformation of Cassava in Africa”.