• Wednesday, April 24, 2024
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Japan, IITA, ABUAD in joint venture to help farmers


The Japanese Embassy in Nigeria has joined efforts with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and Afe Babalola University Ado Ekiti (ABUAD) to help farmers.

To demonstrate their commitment, the three institutions have signed a memorandum of understanding to improve cassava production and processing for Agbekoya farmers in Ekiti State.

Specifically, IITA will provide the Ekiti State chapter of Agbekoya Farmers Association 600 bundles of improved cassava cuttings. In addition, IITA will provide 30 Agbekoya farmers with training in the operation/use of cassava processing machines and 10 Agbekoya farmers with training in the maintenance of cassava processing machines.

The Japanese Embassy on the other hand will provide two cassava processing centres for the farmers, while ABUAD will provide monitoring/training services.

At the signing of the MoU in Ibadan, recently, Kenton Dashiell, deputy director-general (Partnerships & Capacity Development) for IITA, expressed optimism that the collaboration would contribute to improving the livelihoods of cassava farmers, especially women and youth who play a pivotal role in cassava processing.

Giving a background on how the collaboration came to be, Dashiell said the partnership to help farmers was an outcome of an earlier meeting between Nteranya Sanginga, IITA, director-general, and Ryuichi Shoji, ambassador, Embassy of Japan in Nigeria.

In that meeting, 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 garri, fufu, high quality cassava flour, etc. We believe that value addition through processing is an important aspect for us to advance the potential of cassava,” Dashiell said.

According to him, the project in Ekiti will contribute in several ways: it will create jobs, improve incomes, open new markets for farmers, and improve the Nigerian economy.