The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), through its Building an Economically Sustainable, Integrated Cassava Seeds Systems (BASICS) has developed a rapid multiplication technology bent on solving cassava problems in Nigeria
BASICS Project Director, Dr Hemant Nitturkar who made this disclosure at the annual planning review meeting of BASICS in Ibadan, referred to the technology as Semi Autotrophic Hydroponics (SAH).
According to Dr Nitturkar,“This opens up a huge entrepreneurial opportunity for Nigerian youths to act as seed entrepreneurs to supply improved seeds and advise to cassava farmers.
“This will help farmers, processors and the nation at large, as less than 10 tonnes per hectare current yield of cassava per annum is not sustainable. Nigeria should double this and BASICS is working in that direction,” he said.
He also said that an IITA ‘Go seed and Umudike seeds’ has also been established at the National Roots, Crops, Research Institute (NRCRI), as a place to obtain certified breeder and foundation seeds.
According to the Director-General, National Agriculture Seeds Council (NASC), Dr Philip Ojo, the impact of BASICS had been advantageous following the positive reports received daily from the field.
Dr Ojo said, “Production of certified cassava seeds has multiplied tremendously from a 10,091 bundles in 2017 to 55, 639 bundles in 2018; the use and need to use certified seeds is gradually becoming institutionalised.
“The Cassava Seed Tracker (CST) has revolutionised our certification systems and presently been dovetailed at the NASC end to become the national seed tracker which will encompass all crops.” He said.
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