Dr Kenneth Nwosu, Executive Director, National Root Crops ResearchÂ Institute (NRCRI), Umudike, has called for the strengthening of statesâ€™ Agricultural Development Programmes (ADPs) for sustainable agricultural development.
He made the callÂ Wednesday in Umuahia at the instituteâ€™s 2010 Annual Research Review and Planning workshop.
â€œWe have developed very high yield varieties of cassava and yam tubers which we intend to transfer to farmers in the South East Ecological Zone and Niger Delta at a highly subsidised rate.
â€œOur major constraint is how to get the materials across to them. That is why we need to strengthen the ADPs of the various states, because they are the people closest to the farmers,â€ he said.
Nwosu said the institute had, through Bio_technology, developed quadrupple content cassava with high contents of vitamin A, iron, protein and traditional starch.
He said: â€œApart from the high nutritional value of the cassava variety, it also has high yield value, and with that, the farmer can be sure of adequate empowerment.
â€œWe believe that the materials will go to the farmers in the next three to four years.
â€œBy then, the annual cassava output of the country which currently stands at 45 million metric tonnes,would have doubled.â€
Nwosu noted with regret that Nigeria was not maximising its rating as one of the highest producers of cassava in the world.
Nwosu said that Thailand, with close to 80 million metric tonnes of cassava annually, had overtaken Nigeria.
â€œWith the advantage of our land space andÂ varieties of cassava we bring into the market, Nigeria will be sure of attaining more than 60 million metric tonnes annually.
â€œI am sure that if we can break the jinx of getting to our rural farmers through the instrumentality of the state ADPs, we will ensure food security for all,â€ he added.
FCTA to establish multipurpose agric market
The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) plans to establish a multipurpose agricultural market, accordingÂ to Alhaji Bala Batsari, the FCT Secretary for Agriculture.
Speaking at the inauguration of the Cooperative Revitalisation Programme (CRP) and Workshop in Abuja last week,Â Batsari said the market would be a â€œone_stop shopâ€ for all those buying and selling agricultural produce in the FCT.
Batsari said that the market would also address the challenges of building a solid foundation for food security in the FCT.
He said the initiative was a demonstration of the FCT administrationâ€™s determination to strengthen cooperative societies in the territory.
He said that the construction of an Integrated Cooperative Centre in Gwagwalada reached 70 per cent completion as the administration was committed to strengthening cooperative societies.
The Secretary explained that the essesnce of the cooperative revitalization programme was to establish a â€œfunctional and cost effective cooperative delivery and receiving system for the provision of specialised services to farmersâ€.
The services, he said, would include micro-finance, agro-input supply, produce marketing, tractor hiring, agro-preservation and rural enterprise development.
â€œThe specific objective at this stage is to promote the establishment of three specialised cooperatives in each of the six Area Councils in the FCT with corresponding apex structure,â€™â€™ Batsari said.