Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, IITA hold refresher training for 38 cassava farmers
The first phase of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) funded training on Cassava Seed Entrepreneurship for business development, has taken off in Abia State, with 38 cassava farmers selected from Abia, Akwa Ibom, Cross River and Imo states.
The three-day residential refresher training, held at Umuahia, Abia State, to stabilise seed associations is part of the “Building An Economically Sustainable, Integrated Cassava Seed System (BASICS) programme in Nigeria platform Phase 2,” tagged: “Innovation Platform For Cassava Stakeholders & Refresher Training for First Set of Cassava Seed Entrepreneurs for Business Development And Stabilise Seed Associations.”
While declaring the training opened at the Kolping Society Conference Hall, the Coordinator, who is a Director at the National Root Crops Research Institute, Umudike (NRCRI), Dr. Godwin Asumugha, said the training was partly informed by the need to discuss and address issues that emanated during inspection/monitoring visits to farms.
The issues include: how to manage pest diseases, prepare grounds before planting, post-harvest handling, and certification of cassava seeds among others.
While noting that seed entrepreneurship is rewarding, he told the trainees that to reap the benefits, the farmers must procure the appropriate foundation seeds, adding that to qualify as a Cassava Entrepreneur, their farms must be certified by the National Seed Council.
Also speaking, the NRCRI Director of Biotechnology and Basics 2 Coordinator, Dr Joseph Onyeka, said the target of the training was for the beneficiaries to master all aspects of cassava seed farming and begin to generate income on their own.
He urged them to state their problems for advice and assistance and thereafter apply them and extend the knowledge acquired to their colleagues at home.