Scientists and experts in agriculture have converged on the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan to concretize efforts on ways to develop sustainable cassava seed systems in Nigeria.
This according to them, would enable them to solve problems of low productivity and improve the livelihood of farmers while ensuring food security.
Coordinator, Dr Hemant Nitturkar, in his address noted that the project (Building an Economically Sustainable Integrated Cassava Seed System (BASICS), is aimed at setting up a sustainable system where improved seeds would be provided for farmers.
Nitturkar emphasized that it would benefit the full cassava seed value chain and ultimately Nigerian farmers, thereby enhancing their productivity and income.
According to him, the two-day annual meeting which took place from March 16-17, with the theme ‘Consolidation’ helps in developing a shared understanding of the cross-cutting dependencies among breeders, foundation and commercial seed producers.
He added that it also helps farmers agree on quantities of seed flows over the next three years.
Furthermore, he noted that it enhances and strengthens the key building blocks of seed system being developed in the project.
“Nigeria is the world’s largest producer of cassava but the productivity is very low, Nigeria loses about N1trn yearly 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 noted that the council would do its best to ensure that farmers get improved cassava seed varieties.
“The project is going on well since its inception in 2016; 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,” Ojo said.