The Japanese Embassy in Nigeria is collaborating with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and the Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti to assist farmers in Ekiti State.
This is contained in a statement by IITA communications officer, Godwin Atser, made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ibadan on Sunday.
The statement said that the three institutions had signed a memorandum of understanding to improve cassava production and processing for Agbekoya farmers in the state.
It said IITA would provide the state chapter of Agbekoya Farmers Association with 600 bundles of improved cassava cuttings.
In addition, the institute will provide 30 farmers with training in the operation and use of cassava processing machines and 10 others in the maintenance of the machines.
The Japanese embassy on the other hand, will provide two cassava processing centres for the farmers while ABUAD would provide monitoring and training services.
Kenton Dashiell, deputy director-general (partnerships & capacity development) for IITA, expressed optimism that the collaboration would improve the livelihoods of cassava farmers, especially women and youths, who played a pivotal role in cassava processing.
Dashiell said the partnership was an outcome of an earlier meeting among Nteranya Sanginga, IITA director-general and the ambassador, embassy of Japan in Nigeria, Ryuichi Shoji.
The statement said the two leaders agreed to join efforts in alleviating poverty in Africa.
The deputy director-general also noted that the development of cassava along the value chain was critical for Africa to unleash the potential of the root crop.
“To make cassava work for the poor, we need to produce and also process it into products such as gari, fufu, high quality cassava flour and others.
“We believe that value addition through processing is an important aspect for us to advance the potential of cassava,” the statement said.
It said the project in Ekiti would contribute in several ways, including jobs, incomes, open new markets for farmers and improve the economy.
It added that the provision of cassava processing centres under the collaboration for farmers was part of efforts to support the Agricultural Transformation Agenda of the Nigerian government.