Scientists partner to develop sustainable cassava seed system in Nigeria
A Nigerian don, Dr Hemant Nitturkar has said that scientists and other experts in the agriculture sector were currently partnering to develop a sustainable cassava seed system in order to solve the problem of low productivity of the crop.
Speaking on Friday at the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan during the annual meeting of the project tagged: “Building an Economically Sustainable Integrated Cassava Seed System (BASICS), Nitturkar, who is the Project Coordinator noted that the initiative was to set up a sustainable cassava seed system where improved seeds would be provided for farmers.
According to him, the system would benefit the full cassava seed value chain, farmers as well as communities while enhancing productivity and income, adding that the 2018 annual meeting was to develop shared understanding of the cross-cutting dependencies among breeders, foundation and commercial seed producers as well as to agree on quantities of seed flows over the next three years.
The coordinator further said it was to socialise and strengthen the key building blocks of seed system being developed in the project and plan for sustainability of all the key project interventions.
“Nigeria is the world’s largest producer of cassava but productivity is very low. Nigeria loses about N1trillllion due to low productivity. We hope that this project that will last between 2016 and 2019 will address low cassava productivity issue,” he said.
Also speaking, the Director-General of National Agriculture Seeds Council, Dr Olusegun Ojo said the council would do its best to ensure that farmers got improved cassava seed varieties.
“The project is going on well since its inception in 2016 and farmers are already excited with the contribution and provision of the seed council. All stakeholders in this project are working perfectly to ensure that the goal is achieved,” he said.