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Sasakawa Africa Signs MoU With IITA To Support Cassava Seed System

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Sasakawa Africa Signs MoU With IITA To Support Cassava Seed System

The Sasakawa Africa Association (SAA) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) to support cassava seed system across Africa.

The MOU which will allow SAA to establish 100 cassava seed entrepreneurs in Benue and Nasarawa states, is in the framework of the project named Building and Economically Sustainable Cassava Seed System, Phase II (BASICS-II).

Nigeria is the largest producer of Cassava but are yet to maximise benefits of the “Rambo crop.”

Average cassava yield in Nigeria is 10tons per hectare while in Thailand with more than 20 tons per hectare.

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This trend has limited the competitiveness of Nigerian farmers and their ability to tap into the export market.

The Project Leader of BASICS-II, Prof. Lateef Sanni, however, said using the BASICS-II approach, which emphasises the use of improved-certified cassava seeds, farmers could more than double their yield.

“We are excited to partner with SAA in this project as they will bring to the table their expertise in agricultural extension delivery and help us to scale the BASICS Model to new geographies,” Sanni revealed.

Limited access to quality seeds and propagation materials for well-adapted varieties hinders efforts to transform cassava systems. As a result, African farmers plant old, often diseased stems. On the flip side, breeders had developed a suite of improved varieties but have struggled to deliver to farmers stems that serve as seeds. Governments and NGOs have occasionally launched campaigns to multiply and distribute cassava stems, but these efforts have been sporadic, unreliable, and unsustainable.

In the last four years, the BASICS-II project demonstrated that the use of improved cassava stems can change the narrative of low yield per hectare and provide multiple streams of incomes for farmers as they trade stems and roots all together. Besides, the seed system creates jobs (commercial seed entrepreneurs), and wealth across the value chain.

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