Nigeria is now the largest producer of cassava in the world, Karima Babangida, a director in the national federal ministry of agriculture declared Wednesday in Bauchi at a workshop on cassava production organised by the ministry.
Babangida, who was represented by Regional Director, North East, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Umar Mohamed, said that Nigeria “is still the world’s leading producer of cassava, compared to others like Thailand.’’
She said that Nigeria was leading in spite of the low yield which is below 10 tonnes per hectare.
The director observed that the country has the potential to produce 40 tonnes per hectare but blamed the low yield on some challenges being faced by farmers in most parts of the country.
According to her, the low yield challenges can be addressed through workshops, proper policies, efficient technologies, agronomic practices and cropping systems.
She explained that the aim of the workshop was to ensure that the yield gap in cassava production was addressed through dissemination and adoption of improved technologies, as well as innovations by smallholders.
Ms. Babangida said that the workshop would not only encourage youth and gender empowerment but would increase productivity and income, as well create more economic opportunities for farmers in the cassava value chain.
Apart from guaranteeing food security, an increase in cassava production would enable the crop to provide raw materials for ethanol and pharmaceutical industries, said Ms. Babangida
She noted that weed management and best practices tools developed by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) have yielded results through increase in production from its earlier 10 tonnes to 20 tonnes per hectare.