The Chief Executive Officer of the National Root Crops Research Institute, Prof. Chiedozie Egesi has disclosed that the federal government is now poised to boost cassava production in parts of the country.
He said the FG will activate cassava business among smallholder farmers and link them with industries for a sustainable value chain system.
He spoke at a Cassava Value Chain Stakeholders’ Workshop organised by the National Agriculture Growth Scheme and Agropocket (NAGS-AP) in Calabar, Cross River State capital.
He said the outcome of the workshop will help the institute develop an executable and feasible framework for the cassava component that would be integrated into the broad-based national strategy.
He assured that the recommendations from the workshop will target five key crops namely; wheat, maize, rice, soybean and cassava.
The workshop with the theme, “Cassava: Maximising the full potentials of Nigeria’s Golden Crop” was notably attended by arrays of critical stakeholders.
The Cross River State government hosted the event and was represented by the Commissioner for Crops and Irrigation Development, Hon. Johnson Ebokpo.
He disclosed that the state government has embarked on mass cultivation of assorted species or cassava to guarantee food security and improve financial dividends.
He said to illustrate its determination to grow mass cassava farms as a way of reducing costs of allied products from cassava such as garri and foofoo etc, the government allocated 100,000 hectares of land.
This expanse of land is for cassava production and other agricultural programmes in the state.
Ebokpo said time is now for farmers and other stakeholders to invest massively in production of cassava.
He said a digital state-wide soil and fertility map exercise has been commissioned and is currently ongoing for all crops.
According to Ebokpo, “statistics show that in 2019, China exported more than 4 million tons of cassava and its related products, the United States and Japan exported about 1.5 million tons and Japan 1 million tons respectively. So, Nigeria as the business nerve centre of Africa with myriads of ideas can’t undermine the overwhelming benefits accrued from massive production of Cassava.”
He assured that it has become imperative to create an enabling agricultural environment for cassava farmers to harness the abound and untapped agro-opportunities to achieve desired goals.
He assured that his Ministry will make use of this comparative advantage and partner with stakeholders from different sectors who are ready and willing to invest in agro-businesses to ensure the development of a sustainable cassava production strategy for the state.