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Kogi govt moves to stop spread of killer cassava variety

The Kogi Government on Friday said measures were being taken to curtail the spread of poisonous cassava variety with high concentration of Hydrogen Cyanide across…

The Kogi Government on Friday said measures were being taken to curtail the spread of poisonous cassava variety with high concentration of Hydrogen Cyanide across the state.

The Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr Kehinde Oloruntoba, said this when he visited a cassava farm at Adavi Local Government Area of the state.


Oloruntoba explained that the Ministry got a report from the chairman of Adavi Local Council that poisonous cassava peels killed seven goats on the spot after consumption.


“The governor immediately directed an immediate assessment of the situation and take proactive steps to identify and destroy all the poisonous cassava in farmlands to curtail its spread.


“In November 2016, we lost some people to poisonous cassava flour in this same area.


“The test results carried out by the state’s Ministry of Health revealed that the flour contained a high concentration of hydrogen cyanide, not compatible with the body.


“That is why we are here to meet with cassava farmers; get information from them and subsequently agree on how to destroy the farmlands and compensate the farmers.


“We will take samples and go back to further do another round of test to ascertain the exact cause of the high cyanide concentration.


“Whatever results we obtained will be made known to the public because it is possible that the poisonous variety might have traveled far to other areas and out of the state", Oloruntoba said.


The Chairman of the council, Mr Ajoge Abu disclosed that nine persons died in Nov. 2016 due to consumption of poisonous cassava flour.


“As soon as we got the information about the dead animals from the community leader, we immediately moved into action and isolated all the cassava tubers and flour from the markets and households for further investigation.


“We are happy that the governor has taken a proactive step by sending a team of experts here to get the update and find a lasting solution to the reoccurring problem," Abu said.


A Principal Research Officer, National Root Crops Research Institute, Umudike, Mr Adinoyi Etudaiye told journalists that the institute would start with the product that killed the goats.


“The issue of variety is actually very difficult to identify now, but we will contact cassava breeders who should have basic information on the appearance of the stem, leaves and colour of the cassava,” Etudaiye said.


A woman, Mrs Omotayo Yakubu, said she who the she bought the fresh poisonous cassava tubers from ‘Nagari market’ in Adavi to resale.


"I bought tubers for commercial purposes and my neighbour collected some of the peels to feed her goats, but unfortunately the two goats died immediately after consumption.


“The woman rushed down to inform me about the incidence, but I did not believe her because I bought the cassava from Nagari market very fresh as usual for my business.


“So, I took some of the peels to give my goats to confirm the truth, I was surprised when all the five goats died instantly after eaten the peels.


She said the development made her to  the incident to the community leader who drew the attention of government. 


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