BASICS targets sustainable seed system to transform cassava production

Stakeholders in the seed sector have been advised on the need to work towards a sustainable seed system in Nigeria. Project Director, Building an Economically Sustainable Integrated Cassava Seed System (BASICS), Hemant Nitturkar, who made the call at a national stakeholder conference on cassava seed system, held at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan, Oyo State, reminded participants that Nigeria is the largest producer of cassava in the world with a production of about 54m tons, but its yield per hectare of cassava roots is about eight tons, less than half of the realisable yields of more than 20 tons per hectare.

Researchers say one of the factors responsible for the low yield of cassava is the low adoption of clean and healthy seeds of improved varieties of cassava by farmers.“We have to start with the right planting material and nurture it with good agronomy and weed management practices.  Each of these three components has the potential to raise the productivity of cassava by 30 per cent. If we do not improve our practices in seed, weed and agronomy, we are incurring a lost opportunity of about N200b annually from each of the three issues,” he explained.

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