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VANGUARD,FRIOAY,MARCHI9,201O

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. Agriculture IITA says research boosts food production in sub-S aharan Africa

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UNIDO, Japanese govt to assist cassava farmers in Oyo State . T

he Japanese Government and United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) on Thursday signed an ag reement to assist farmers in Oyo State in the area of cassava processing and 'value ' addition. . -~ Mr Shigeru Hamano, Deputy Cnief Mission, . Embassy of Japan, signed for his country and presented a 97,023_dollar grant to the representatives of the four benefiting lneal government areas in Oyo State. He said the grant was given under the Japanese Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects (GGP). Hamano said the giant would .be managed by a loca l NGO, Ifelodun Cassava Processing Cooperative Investment and Credit Society, to carry out cassava processing projects in the state. He said the grant would also assist the farmers in the provision of cassava processing equipment, such as graters , flash dryer, hammer mill and a borehole.. Hamano said the project, which was being supported by UNIDO , wo'uld . ' contribute to commun ity development in the state . • He said the Japanese .government, under the GGP, had provided 5,8 million dollars since 1998 for 107 projects in Nigeria. The Coord,inator of ·the NGO, Mrs Grace Alade, pledged that the grant .

would be used judiciously to ensure that farmers in the four benefiting local government areas nad access to improved cassava processing facilities. She said the benefiting councils were Atiba, Afijio, Oyo West and Oyo East Local GovemmentAreas. ''More than 1,000 farmers will benellt from the project; and we will ensure that the money is speiW-fu ' the machinery a for , cassava give them b she, added. '

he International Ins titute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Tbadan, Oyo State says its research is yielding positive results toward boosting food production in Nigeria and other parts of sub-Saharan Africa. Prof. Peter Oyekan, Chairman, Technical,Sl,lb-Committee of Crop Varieties Release in Nigeria, said this in a statement made available to journalists on Wednesday in Lagos. The statement said Oyekan made the remark during a courtesy visit to IITA Headquarters in Tbadan, with Mr Wasiu Odofin, the Director/ChiefExecutive Officer, National Centre for Genetic Resources and Biotechnology. According to him, IITA has contributed significantly in raising crop yield ao.d increasing farmers ' incomes. ''This has consequently, earned Nigeria the position of not only. the largest world producer of cassava, but. has also resulted in significant gains in maize, yams, soybean, plantainlbanana and cowpea production," Oyekan said. "The UTA improved varieties are perfonning well in . farmers' fields because breeding has always been targeted at particular ecological zones and specific production constraints relating to pests and diseases, He mentioned maize varieties as drouglit_tolerant targeted ;;.-· for the drougbt_prone regions. "Stem borer_resistant varieties rn.#e it possible for maize to thrive in the Southeastern zone of the country where stem borers are a major cballenge. "Others are high yielding cassava varieties, improved hybrid yam varieties, Striga and Alectra resistant cowpea and soybean rusCresistant Varieties," Oyekan said. He said these were doing well and made it possible to increase agriculture production. Oyekan said the adoption of IITA iinproved varieties by farmers had been high and impressive but added that the governm~nt needed to support the seed industry to promote the dissemination of improved varieties, The chairman said Nigeria had cut the time taken to release improved varieties to farmers from about five years to between two and three years.

The National Programme . to monitor the progress of Officer for UNIDO, Mr the projects and Reuben Bamidele, said disbursement of the grant," UNIOO's role was to give he said. the farmers technical support that would facilitate large scale production, and that the processes mel international standards. "Since 2005, UNIOO lias been collaborating'with t\;le ·Japanese government to . assist small scale farmers and· producers across the 'Trrigationfarmeriin -.. . country. "The money does ' no t' ..1Katsina State have urged the ' federal and ' state come from UNIOO. but we have an inbuilt mechanism governments to· facilitate the establisbment of markets ..:,' . and processing companies for agricultural produce in e~arks the area. Tbe state Chairman of irrigation ' farmers, Alhaji Salisu Lema, made the call on Friday in an interview with the News Agency of World Bank. he Kwara Government Nigeria (NAN) during a tour He also said that the has earmarked N I of irrigation sites in Funtua, Shonga commercial farms billion for small- scale Musawa , ' Malumfasbi, had created more than 4,000 irrigation farming. Danja; Dandunle and Kafur jobs, particularly for The Commissioner for Local.GovernmentAreas . . indigenes of the area. Agriculture and Natural He said the ,establishment e Irrigated fann land The commissioner noted Resources , Prof. of markets and 'processing that produce from the farms Mohammed Gana Yi sa, plants at strategic locaiions and urged them to increase werenow on s,a1e invaiious disclosed on Tuesday in' would e nhance increased . the quantity of the llorin that government had , markets, adding that ihe production , and a$sist.in .commodity in view of the farmers were eager to offset ' reducing povertY. also identified 20 different large number of farmers. , . their loans. sites for the projects. ' '. Lema expla·ine.d that An irrigation farmer in He said some private He said .the projects , va riou s crops and Kafur Local Government farins had established when completed, woulngo vegetables were produced in " Area, , Malam . Yahuza factories producing goods a long way in solving the large quantities during dry on commercial scaie, as part 'season- farming, and that , Masari, said the inputs water problem usually supplied by the government of government's efforts to . sucli produce were 'being ex perienced by fanners .were inadequate, as a result during the dry season in tile, industriaLise the state: . transported to different ' of which many farmers He. said government was identified areas. . parts :of the 'country. , could not benefit from the also intensifying, efforts to Gana_ Yi$a said ihe He commended th.e state . allocations. ' link producers of.·maize, projects would be funded and local,governments over He noted that the absence cassava and rice to markets from the N40 hillion capital the' sale of subsidised of viable markets and for their produce._ bond loan sourced from the fertili§ers and other inputs,

Irrigation farmers advocate establishment . 'o f markets, processing companies

-Kwara goit NIb for iirigation fanrung projects

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processing companies had hindered growt h in the sector. . Masari -said most of their produce were perishables, adding that Jaimers had recorded huge losses due to "the lack of stqrage facilities, He said the situation could be rev.ersed if appropriate markets and processing plants were provided by government in collaboration with the _private sector.


VANGUARD, 19 MARCH, 2010