James Ogunnaike – Abeokuta
The project Manager, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan, Oyo State, Prof. Lateef Sanni has called for a synergy between the institute and private organizations in agricultural value chain for them to tap into result of its various researches for the development of the nation’s agriculture sector.
Prof. Sanni, who said this in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, at the Joint Public Presentation of SANO Foods Products and Basic-II Cassava Varietal Display held in Abeokuta, described private sector as the engine that drives economic growth.
He said, “If we are talking about sustainable intervention initiative if we look at presidential initiative from cassava and everything this is the first time you will see private sector using their own money for production and showcasing it to the global world because of promo and that is the reason why to me it is more sustainable that we the experts are pushing the technology everyday.
The IITA Project Manager said this was the first time private sector has shown interest in some of the output of the institute researches.
“It is a good opportunity for us to showcase the technology and as well create awareness, so that other players can come and join in the supply of all materials to industry and the minimum of private sectors
Speaking at the programme, the State Commissioner for Industry, Trade and investment, Mrs Kikelomo Alonge said the State government will continue to promote public – private partnerships towards improving the ease of doing business in the state.
Alonge maintained that Ogun State being the largest industrial cassava producer in the country, accounts for ten percent of the national production, saying that the state has the largest processor network in Nigeria.
She disclosed that the current administration has actualised free and improved planting materials palliative initiative where 40, 000 smallholder farmers were supported with seeds, cassava stems, insecticides, and herbicides.
She added that over 10,000 smallholder farmers benefited from adding that the State had constructed four cassava processing centres at Baara, Alapako-Oni, Oke Iyemi and Ayetoro.
The Commissioner added that the state has keyed into other initiatives by the federal government, towards the development of agriculture in the state
She said, “Nigeria is currently the largest producer of cassava in the world, accounting for one fifth of the total global output of 277million tonnes in 2018. Ogun State being the largest processor network in Nigeria”.
“Over the past two decades , the cropped area for cultivation of cassava has grown from 3.3million tonnes to 59million tonnes”.
“The percentage of smallholder farmers has been declining , indicating an increase in the scale of production activities and consequently, the state’s capacity to fulfill processors’ growing demand”, the Commissioner said.
“The global significance of cassava has increased due to the rising prices of close substitutes such as rice and maize. As a result, significant progress has been recorded in developing new cassava varieties in the country. In Ogun State, the average price of fresh cassava root is $64.9″.
”The yield per hectare of local and improved varieties is 8.3 tonnes and 18.0 tonnes, respectively, signifying the superior quality of improved varieties
“Many companies require the cassava roots as inputs for their processing activities, such as cassava flour, ethanol. This creates a ready made market. Despite the success recorded, farmers’adoption of improved varieties poses a massive challenge due to agronomic concerns, weak awareness and limited resources as well as the capacity to multiply and distribute these seeds”
Alonge explained that the success of the initiatives and the establishment of industrial hubs in selected locations have driven the recorded growth in industrial activities in the state.
On his part, the State Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr. Adeola Odedina said the agriculture agenda in Ogun State centered around support small holder, food security, job creation and industrialization.
He said, “the state has encouraged young people to venture into agriculture, saying it is the only way to take youths out of the street
“SANO foods has created a variety of 100 percentage organic foods that promote healthy living, prevent vitamin A deficiency and help reduce the risk of advanced aged related macular degeneration”.