In an effort to improve cassava productivity and value addition activities in Nigeria, representatives from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) visited IITA Ibadan on 25 September to explore possible avenues of collaboration, especially in facilitating finance for farmers. Achieving more efficiency in the sector promises to increase incomes of the value chain actors.
IITA Deputy Director General, Partnerships for Delivery (DDG-P4D), Kenton Dashiell, received the team led by the Head of the Agriculture Credit Support Division of the CBN, Kayode Oluwole. In his welcome address, Dashiell gave a brief summary of IITA’s history and current activities.
In his remarks, Oluwole emphasized the need for financial interventions to encourage cassava farmers to change production techniques and create access to clean seed. He said, “We observed that the yield in cassava production in Nigeria is poor despite the fact that we are the largest producer, and from what we have learnt, this is as a result of the vigour of the cutting, as well as the agronomy practices. There is, therefore, the need to make clean cuttings of high vigour available to small-scale farmers and assist them through loans given to groups.”
Oluwole also said CBN considers collaboration with IITA in identifying large-scale cassava processors and creating a supply chain through the creation of clusters of smallholder farmers that will be financed. He said that in multiplication and production of vigorous cassava cultivars, IITA’s expertise will definitely be of great use.
The reception team from IITA included the BASICS Project Director, Hemant Nitturkar and ACAI Project Principal Investigator, Sustainable Weed Management Technologies for Cassava Systems in Nigeria, Prof Friday Ekeleme. Other team members present were Cassava Peel Technologist, Iheanacho Okike; IITA Postharvest Engineer, Thierno Diallo; BASICS Project M&E Officer, David Obisesan; Cassava Seed System Specialist, Mercy Diebiru-Ojo; and RTB Project Officer, Richard Ofei.