The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), the National Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI) and the Foundation for Partnership Initiatives in the Niger Delta (PIND) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to promote cassava production in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria.
Alfred Dixon, director of IITA’s development and delivery office, at the formalization ceremony of the contract held via Zoom, said that the existence of the NRCRI and PIND in the Niger Delta and South East regions would help sustain the outcomes of the IITA’s Building an Economically Sustainable Integrated Cassava Seed System: Phase 2 (BASICS-II) even after the MoU’s five-year duration.
The signed MoU is a tripartite agreement endorsed under the BASICS-II project to organize advocacy programs, farmer trainings and promotion for the use of improved disease-free varieties of cassava stems.
BASICS-II was launched by the IITA in July as a subsequent stage to BASICS-I, which ran between 2015 and 2020. The second phase is a five-year project supported by the African Development Bank to transform the cassava seed sector by furthering the dissemination of improved varieties.
The project is currently focused on Nigeria and Tanzania, with spin off to other African countries to enhance the productivity of their cassava farmers.
Kenton Dashiell, IITA deputy director general of partnerships for delivery; Joseph Ukpabi, NRCRI executive director; and Dara Akala, PIND executive director, all signed the MoU on behalf of their respective organizations.
Akala noted that the partnership on the cassava value chain was crucial since the sector has a large number of poor farmers in the Niger Delta and that the MOU with the IITA and NRCRI is very important for the region.