Food Security: Cassava sector records progress in 5 years
Stakeholders in the agricultural sector have said that significant progress was made in the cassava subsector in the last five years, cutting across research, development, new investments and farmer productivity.
This is contained in a communique issued after the 2021 National Cassava Summit, on Tuesday in Ibadan.
The communique was signed by Dr Alfred Dixon, the Director, Development and Delivery, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan.
The summit recognised the gap in seeds demand and supply while appreciating the progress made by the BASICS-II in creating the BASICS Model for efficient development and delivery of the cassava seed system.
The stakeholders called on the public and private sector actors to adopt the model.
“The summit reviewed with great concern the approach where donor projects and government were offering cassava seeds to farmers free of charge and in an unsustainable manner.
“Such interventions distort the seed markets and frustrate the already made gains in creating a sustainable seed ecosystem that guarantees job and wealth creation.
“The summit acknowledged the efforts made by National Agricultural Seed Council (NASC) in the sanitisation of the seeds system and encouraged it to rev up the de-centralisation of certification, increase regulation to ensure the constant supply of seeds,” it stated.
“To achieve the full genetic potential of cassava seeds, the stakeholders recommended the use of the Six Steps to Cassava Weed Management and other best planting practices.’’
They urged the government to always provide an enabling environment and offer incentives to catalyse private sector investments both for new entrants and existing actors in the seed sector.
“The summit recognised that the country was not lacking in policies but noted that what was needed was the political will to implement those policies.
“To attract youth into the agricultural space, we recommended mechanisation and the use of digital tools such as AKILIMO, Cassava Seed Tracker, IITA Herbicides and Calculator.
“It was agreed that the sensitisation of existing policies and regulation should be intensified among the stakeholders,” it stated.
They also identified the need to ramp-up investments in Research and Development as well as extension services, to ensure the adequate dissemination of research outcomes.
According to them, a database of actors in the cassava value chain is highly important to promote market linkages and address the periodic glut in the market.
“The summit appreciated the work done by IITA, PIND, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and BASICS-II, in organising the summit and being at the forefront of cassava development,” it stated.
Others, who also signed the communique are Prof. Lateef Sanni, the Project Manager, Building Economically Sustainable Integrated Cassava Seeds System, Phase 2(BASICS-11) and Dr Dara Akala, Executive Director, Foundation for Partnership Initiatives in the Niger Delta (PIND).