The federal government of Nigeria has disclosed plans to adopt improved technologies in support of massive cassava production, a move expected to create wealth and allow the country to compete favorably in the international market.
Karima Babangida, director of agricultural extension for the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, made this known during a capacity building workshop for youth and women farmers on “Yield Gap Cassava Production,” which was held at the National Root Crops Research Institute in Umudike, Abia State.
The application of innovative technologies in agriculture, especially in areas like production, storage and processing, is an important factor that can improve efficiency and contribute to sectoral growth and productivity.
Babangida observed that Nigeria has a cassava yield of less than 10 metric tons per hectare despite being the world’s largest producer of the crop. By comparison, she noted, countries like Thailand have a per-hectare output far greater than that of Nigeria, adding that by using good varieties, Nigeria has the potential to yield more than 40 metric tons per hectare.
“As you are aware, one of the key priorities of President Muhammadu Buhari administration under the Agricultural Promotion Policy, APP, is to achieve a hunger-free Nigeria through an improved agricultural sector that ensures sustainable food supply that is easily accessible and affordable,” the director said.
“It is my firm belief that the challenges posed as low yield could be surmounted through activities such as this workshop; adoption of appropriate policy measures, deployment of efficient technology, improved agronomic practices, and cropping systems that would take maximum advantage of new and improved varieties, which could be easily adopted by farmers.
“The purpose of this workshop is to ensure the yield gap in cassava production is addressed through dissemination and adoption of technologies as well as innovation by smallholder farmers.”