Posted in Press Releases

Japan and Nigerian institutions collaborate to help farmers

Japan and Nigerian institutions collaborate to help farmers
Posted on 2nd April, 2013 Back to home

Japan and Nigerian institutions collaborate to help farmers

 

The Japanese government is collaborating with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and Afe Babalola University Ado Ekiti (ABUAD) to help farmers increase produce.

The three institutions, in a joint memorandum of understanding, agreed to demonstrate their commitment to improving cassava production and processing for Agbekoya farmers in Ekiti State, western Nigeria.

Provision of training services
Specifically, IITA will provide the Ekiti State Chapter of Agbekoya Farmers Association, 600 bundles of improved cassava cuttings.

In addition, IITA will provide 30 Agbekoya farmers with trainings in the operation/use of cassava processing machines and 10 Agbekoya farmers with training in the maintenance of cassava processing machines.

The Japanese Embassy on the other hand will provide two cassava processing centres for the farmers while ABUAD would provide monitoring/ training services.

Value addition through processing

At the signing of the MoU in Ibadan on Monday, Dr Kenton Dashiell, Deputy Director General (Partnerships & Capacity Development) for IITA, expressed optimism that the collaboration would contribute to improving the livelihoods of cassava farmers, especially women and youth who play a pivotal role in cassava processing.

According to him, the project in Ekiti will contribute in several ways.

“It will create jobs, improve incomes, open new markets for farmers, and improve the Nigerian economy,” he says.

The deputy director general also noted that the development of cassava along the value chain was critical for Africa to unleash the potential of the root crop.

“To make cassava work for the poor, we need to produce and also process it into products such as Gari, Fufu, high quality cassava flour, etc. We believe that value addition through processing is an important aspect for us to advance the potential of cassava,” Dr Dashiell said.

Giving a background on the collaboration, Dr Dashiell said it was an outcome of an earlier meeting between Dr Nteranya Sanginga, IITA Director General; and the Ambassador, Embassy of Japan in Nigeria, Mr Ryuichi Shoji.

In that meeting, the two leaders agreed to join efforts in alleviating poverty in Africa.

Shoji said the provision of cassava processing centres under the collaboration for farmers was part of efforts to support the Agricultural Transformation Agenda of the Nigerian government.

He also thanked IITA for its contribution to the success of the project, adding that the project would alleviate poverty and enhance food security.

The President General of the Agbekoya Farmers, Kamorudeen Aremu Okikiola commended IITA, the Japanese Embassy and ABUAD for their support to farmers.

He called on other development and research organizations in Nigeria to emulate the intervention programme.

Prof Sidi Osho, Vice Chancellor of ABUAD called on the farmers to participate and to ensure that the efforts by IITA, ABUAD and the Japanese Embassy do not go in vain.

Established in 1967, IITA and its major partner, the National Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI), have developed over 40 improved cassava varieties. These varieties are high yielding and resistant to most pest and diseases. Among the varieties are those that are rich in pro-vitamin A developed in collaboration with HarvestPlus.

Efforts by IITA in cassava research have contributed in making Nigeria the world’s largest producer of cassava with about 52 million tons in 2011.

 

PR/COKEY

 

 

 

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