Business is booming.

Benue Farmers Thrilled by Supply of Improved Cassava Varieties

By George George Idowu

Cassava farmers in Benue State are celebrating a promising outlook for their crops this harvest season thanks to improved cassava varieties.

These advancements, introduced by Cassava Seed Entrepreneurs (CSEs) associated with the Sasakawa Africa Association, are delivering impressive yields of 20 tonnes per hectare and above—more than doubling the national average.

Under the BASICS-II project led by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), this initiative aims to revolutionize cassava cultivation in North Central Nigeria.

The role of CSEs, supported by early generation seed producers, is pivotal in providing farmers with disease-free, high-yielding planting materials.

Vitalis Iorlaha, a local farmer, expressed excitement about planting the TME 419 variety, highlighting the economic benefits derived from both root and stem sales. “Honestly, this project is a life changer,” he remarked.

The project has not only boosted yields but also facilitated the establishment of more than 50 hectares of cassava seed fields across Benue and Nasarawa states, with further expansion planned for 2024.

Dr. Godwin Atser, Country Director for SAA-Nigeria, believes these entrepreneurs will play a crucial role in disseminating quality planting materials to farmers across the region.

Local farmers like Dorathy Amile and Success Agindi lauded the project for providing training and inputs that have enhanced cassava cultivation.

Furthermore, Rosemary Usoo and Nyitse Nyaregh, newly minted seed producers, are determined to adhere to guidelines to maximize their benefits.

Jonathan Yassah, Programme Officer for SAA Market Oriented Agriculture, emphasized the importance of adhering to National Agricultural Seed Council (NASC) guidelines to ensure certified quality, enabling CSEs to access markets for stem sales—an essential aspect of the project’s success.

 

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