Friday, March 19, 2010


Farmers in Oyo, Osun, Ondo, Ekiti, Kogi,
Nasarawa and Benue will receive
the improved cassava varieties.
Farmers in seven Nigerian states will benefit from the distribution of free improved cassava varieties, thanks to the IITA implemented project "Unleashing the Power of Cassava in Africa".

Richardson Okechukwu, the IITA-UPoCA Deputy Project Manager, said: “In Nigeria, we aim to empower 75,000 farms with improved varieties by the end of 2010. We also expect cassava yield in these areas to increase by at least 30%.”

But the distribution of improved cassava varieties is only one of a number of activities planned for 2010 by the project.

Researchers are also pushing improved processing and utilization technologies to create more markets for the crop.

Awareness building is also a top priority and at two Training of Trainers courses, farmers, processors, Women in Agriculture of Agricultural Development Programs, NGOs, and other private business firms were given special lessons on how to maximise their work.

Participants were taught how to process 21 food products and exposed to mechanized processing using motorized cassava graters and double screw presses both developed by IITA. The course also stressed the importance of packaging, marketing and labelling.

2010 is quickly shaping up to be the year for Nigerian cassava growers and processors. With the help of IITA they should see an increase in incomes and food security.

IITA’s UPoCA project, funded by US AID,
is also being implemented in Sierra Leone, Ghana,
Tanzania, Malawi, Democratic Republic of Congo,
and Mozambique.

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