Jigawa gets improved seeds from IITA
By Jimoh Babatunde with agency reports
In the coming weeks, Jigawa state farmers will be getting improved cowpea and maize varieties from the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) as part of efforts to help improve the fortunes of agriculture in that state.
The Institute also plans to backstop the newly established state-owned cassava starch industry, linking it to markets and also offering farmers improved cassava planting materials to ensure a steady supply of cassava roots to the factory.
The Deputy Director General, Partnerships and Capacity Building (IITA), Dr Kenton Dashiell, who disclosed this during the week in Dutse, Jigawa State, said “In the next two weeks, the institute will be delivering improved cassava planting materials for multiplication.”
Cassava, cowpea and maize are important crops in that Nigeria’s north western state, contributing to the food security and wealth creation of millions of people.
The donation of the improved planting materials comes after the governor of the north western state, Dr Sule Lamido, gave an open invitation to the foremost agricultural research institute in Africa, IITA, to help his government turn-around agriculture at the Institute’s 45th anniversary held on 6 July in Ibadan, Oyo state.
Dr Dashiell said “the institute is glad to help Jigawa state to tackle the challenge of food insecurity, create wealth and improve livelihoods.”
The about 1000kg of improved seeds comprising 500kg of cowpea and 500kg of maize will be planted across the 27 local governments of the state on demonstration plots with the support of farmers and the Jigawa State Agricultural Development Program.
Seeds harvested from the demonstrations will be given to farmers ahead of next planting season in 2013, amplifying the benefits of improved technologies to farmers in the state.
The Institute will also assist the government by linking buyers to the Jigawa State cassava starch factory. With an installed processing capacity of 4 tons of cassava roots per hour, the factory aims to add value to cassava, thereby creating wealth for cassava farmers.
Plans are also on the table to begin the production of gari, and high quality cassava flour that can be used by bakers and in the confectionary industry.
The introduction of improved cassava varieties will offer the state the opportunity to tap the power of the root crop for its rapid agricultural development.
Jigawa State Governor, Dr Sule Lamido thanked IITA for offering to support the state in its agricultural transformation agenda.
“We need to develop a strong partnership to impact positively on the lives of our people,” Lamido said.
He pledged to give the Institute the necessary support to improve the livelihoods of the people of the state.