By Gabriel Ewepu
The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Thursday, disclosed commencement of training 2, 000 cassava farmers in nine States including the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, to boost cassava value chain activities and create new innovations in cultivation of the commodity.
This was made known by the Director, Federal Department of Agriculture, Hajiya Karima Babangida, in Illorin, capital of Kwara State, while speaking on the essence of the training and distribution of 60, 000 cassava planting materials to the nine benefiting States and FCT, which include Ogun, Oyo, Kwara, Kogi, Nasarrawa, Edo, Rivers, Kano and Katsina, as over 10,000 planting materials already have been distributed to farmers in FCT.
According to Babangida, the cassava planting materials been distributed to farmers are high quality improved type which are also high yielding, early maturing and resistant to pests and diseases, which also responds better to agronomic management practices.
Meanwhile, the distribution train has moved to Kwara, Kogi, Ogun, Oyo and Rivers States.
She said: “Nigeria remains the largest producer of cassava in the world and the present government is desirous to improve and strengthen the cultivation of the commodity so that Nigeria farmers can get a sustainable yield of over 25 tonnes per hectare.
“With the improved cultivar of cassava been distributed to farmers, yields per hectare will be increased and hence an increase in the revenue to farmer and ultimately a better livelihood for the farm family.
“The training of over 2,000 farmers is to improve farmers’ capacity with the latest technologies of cassava farming, processing and marketing.”
Also speaking was the Kwara State Coordinator, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Yisa Aliu, who described the training of cassava farmers in Kwara State as monumental intervention from the Federal Government.
“This is the first time Kwara State cassava farmers are benefiting from such monumental intervention from the federal government and I believe the training and the planting materials supplied to farmers will produce huge results to the farmers in terms of revenue and enhanced standard of living”, Aliu said.
The Programme Manager, Root and Tuber Expansion Programme, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Deola-Tayo Lordbanjou, urged farmers to put into practice the knowledge gained for high productivity.
Some of the benefiting farmers at the training said their knowledge will increase and will be applied to their business as farmers.
One of the trainees, Dele Shittu, appreciated the Ministry for considering Kwara State Cassava farmers to benefit in the programme which will obviously make a great impact in their lives.