Experts lament decline in cocoyam output, state panacea
Experts and stakeholders in Cocoyam value chain have lamented the decline in its output, calling for improved technology and practices that would increase the output and mitigate the adverse effects of climate change.
They made the call at a workshop on Cocoyam production, at the National Root Crop Research Institute (NRCRI), Umudike, Abia State, with participants drawn from universities, agriculture research institutions and farmers groups, among others.
The workshop, sponsored by the Association of Commonwealth Universities, African Academy of Sciences and UK Aid, under the Climate Impact Research and Leadership Enhancement programme, focused on: “Climate Change Adaptation and Constraints Faced By Cocoyam Farmers in Southeast Nigeria” – a post-doctoral research project by Dr. Clara Ifeanyi-Obi from the University of Port Harcourt.
The workshop was targeted at assisting cocoyam farmers to sustainably adapt to the severe effects of climate change and to reverse apathy for the crop.
Participants stated that cocoyam farmers in the Southeast adapted to effects of climate change through increased use of organic manure, frequent weeding of the farm and application of indigenous knowledge, positing that education of farmers on climate change issues should be done through workshops, seminars, exhibitions, training and capacity building of extension agents.
They acknowledged the role of cocoyam in food security, sustainable livelihood and environmental health, worrying that cocoyam was fast disappearing from the market due to farmers apathy to cultivate the crop, adverse effects of climate change that include increased losses incurred in the field and storage due to tuber rot resulting from heat.