WorldStage Newsonline– The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and Oyo State Agribusiness Development Agency (OYSADA) have partnered to develop a sustainable cassava seed system in the state.
The partnership will be carried out under the IITA’s Building an Economically Sustainable, Integrated Cassava Seed System, Phase 2 (BASICS-II) project.
The Director-General of OYSADA, Mr Debo Akande, who disclosed this in a statement issued in Ibadan on Tuesday, said that the partnership was aimed at evolving a sustainable cassava seed system for the state.
Akande said that the initiative was targetted at ending the unstructured dissemination of diseased stems, mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 on food systems and create jobs for young people.
He added that the project would end the free distribution of cassava stems by putting in place a sustainable structure that would guarantee the steady supply of improved stems to farmers.
According to him, it will also create wealth for actors, especially youths and women, who are engaged in cassava cultivation.
“This year, the state had established 10 hectares of cassava seeds, with technical support from the IITA’s GoSeed BASICS-II project.
“The 10 hectares will be the starting point of a sustainable cassava seed system supply in the state.
“Furthermore, the African Cassava Agronomy Initiative (ACAI) project introduced the Six Steps to Cassava Weed Management and Best Planting Practices toolkit that enabled the cultivation of a clean field,” he said.
Akande also said that the state had plans to expand its seed value chain and ensure that youths in the state acquired skills in seed entrepreneurship.
The IITA’s Director for Development and Delivery, Dr Alfred Dixon, said in the statement that the organisation was ready to support the state in creating a sustainable seed system.
“It is heartwarming seeing that Oyo State is walking the talk,” he said.
Dr Kenton Dashiell, IITA’s Deputy Director-General of Partnerships for Delivery, described the government’s initiative as a step in the right direction.
“Located in the South-Western part of Nigeria, Oyo State has embarked on agricultural reforms, opening up the state to agribusiness, with the creation of OYSADA.
“The state is capitalising on its arable land and favourable weather to harness its rich agricultural potential as well as to create jobs for the youth.
“However, one of the challenges faced by the state is the scarcity of improved varieties of cassava, a crop that the state has a comparative advantage in,” he said.
Mr Godwin Atser, IITA’s Digital Extension and Advisory Services Specialist, also commended the government for adopting the BASICS-II model.
According to him, the model is aimed at disseminating improved disease-free cassava varieties to end users in an economically-sustainable manner.
Atser also assured that BASICS-II was targetted at creating jobs and providing disease-free improved varieties to cassava growers.