The Federal Government has disclosed moves to adopt efficient technology in massive cassava production to compete favourably in the international market and create wealth.
This was made known by the Director, Federal Department of Agriculture in the Ministry, Karima Babangida, during a capacity building workshop on youth and women farmers to address ‘Yield Gap Cassava Production’ for South-East Zone, held at Roots Crops Research Institute, Umudike, Abia State, on Thursday.
Babangida pointed that Nigeria despite being the world’s largest producer of cassava has yield below 10 metric tonnes per hectare compared to countries such as Thailand whose production is way above that of Nigeria. She further stated that this narrative can be changed because of the potential to achieve a greater yield of 40 metric tonnes per hectare based on the varieties of cassava stem that could be developed.
She said: “As you are aware, one of the key priorities of President Muhammadu Buhari administration under the Agricultural Promotion Policy, APP, is to achieve a hunger-free Nigeria through an improved agricultural sector that ensures sustainable food supply that is easily accessible and affordable. “It is worth noting that Nigeria is the world’s leading producer of cassava despite its low yield of 10mt/ha compared to other countries such as Thailand. However, the country has the potentials of having good varieties that could five more than 40mt/ha.
“It is my firm belief that the challenges posed as low yield could be surmounted through activities such as this workshop; adoption of appropriate policy measures, deployment of efficient technology, improved agronomic practices, and cropping systems that would take maximum advantage of new and improved varieties, which could be easily adopted by farmers.
“The purpose of this workshop is to ensure the yield gap in cassava production is addressed through dissemination and adoption of technologies as well as innovation by smallholder farmers. This is coupled with youth and gender empowerment activities that would not only increase productivity and income but also offer more economic opportunities to farmers in the cassava value chain.
“Accordingly, this will facilitate creation sustainable cassava planting systems production system; provide yields productivity, ensure good agronomic practices, empowerment of youth and women in production, access to information using useful digital tools to create competitiveness and profitability of cassava enterprise for smallholder farmers. In the end, the value chain will be more efficient in dissemination and adoption of new productivity and raise incomes of cassava growers and seed entrepreneurs in the seed industry.”
She also pointed that with the strategic importance of the commodity government will do all it can to ensure it provides food security. She charged participants to intensify efforts to increase productivity to attract investors into the industry.