An Advocacy, Promotion and Outreach Lead with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Dr. Godwin Atser has listed high yielding cassava varieties with high demand to include TME 419, Fine Face, Dixon, Farmers’ Pride, Sunshine, Game Changer, Obasanjo II, and Poundable.
He advised farmers to go for the varieties, adding that “any of these varieties can yield more than 30 tons per hectare.’’
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Atser noted that sufficient investments must be made in the cassava seed sector to address the challenges plaguing the supply of quality cassava roots as raw materials to industries.
In a presentation titled ‘Harnessing Opportunities in Cassava Seed System for Industrial Growth’, at the just-concluded conference organised by the Nigeria Institute of Food Science and Technology (NIFST), Dr Atser situated the current challenges of cassava production in the country on demand and supply.
According to him, the present high cost of cassava roots was demand-driven, and farmers’ use of local varieties significantly hampered productivity.
Early this year, many processors had to shut down their factories when cassava root prices rose to more than N85,000 per ton, up from N12,000 per ton, before receding to N25,000 per ton.
With many processing industries now looking for specific improved varieties, Dr Atser stressed that the era of growing cassava without paying attention to the profile of the variety was becoming counter-productive.
“Industries are becoming variety specific, and farmers who want to make it big must go for the varieties in demand,” he said.
In his submission, the chair of the special session, Prof Lateef Sanni, who is the Project Manager of the BASICS-II, stressed that the need for quality and constant supply of raw materials could not be overemphasised, adding that “it all begins with the seed.”
By Grace Adetutu