The Director, Global Cassava Partnership (GCP21) of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Mr Claude Fauguet on Tuesday called on policymakers on agriculture in Africa to consider cassava as a cash crop.
He made the call in Lagos at a news conference to announce the 4th International Cassava Conference scheduled to hold in June, tagged: “Transforming Cassava in Africa”.
Fauguet told newsmen that cassava was a resilient crop that could survive under any climate and therefore needed science and technology to grow and develop it.
According to him, “Policy makers in Africa really need to begin to see cassava as a cash crop and not a poor man’s crop. IITA in the last 50 years has been promoting that school of thought and we are not relenting. With the current trend of climate change and environmental degradation, cassava comes as one crop that can survive under any weather.
“Cassava is resilient to climate changes and can adapt to the changes in the environment unlike other crops that cannot respond to changes in climate,” he said.
On why Nigeria is the focus of the media briefing, Fauguet said that the country was a model that the rest of Africa looked up to.
The Director Designate of GCP21, Prof. Malachy Akoroda said that IITA was set to partner with stakeholders globally in order to improve cassava production.
He said that partnerships and reviewing successes of other countries would ensure cassava sustainability and development.
The international conference would be held in Cotonou, Benin Republic from June 11 to June 15, focusing on technology, access to finance and market.