2nd March, 2011
Cassava farmers in Ido community of Oyo State recorded 100 per cent increase in yield during the 2010 farming season, an official said on Tuesday.
Mr. Bashir Adesiyan, the Chairman, Cassava Growers Association of Nigeria, disclosed this in Ibadan in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
He attributed the success recorded in the community to the â€œUnleashing the Power of Cassava in Africa (UPoCA)â€ project.
NAN reports that the project was introduced and being implemented by the IITA, Ibadan.
Adesiyan said with the implementation of the project, his cassava yield increased from an average of 10 tonnes per hectare to more than 20 tonnes per hectare.
â€œWith local varieties, I used to harvest 10 tonnes per hectare, but now, it is more than 20 tonnes per hectare.
â€œDuring the harvest period, other farmers accused me of applying juju on my farm but I told them that it was the improved cassava stems and training I got from IITA that made my farm better,â€ Adesiyan said.
He said that other farmers in the community who participated in the project also recorded increases in cassava yield.
NAN recalls that in 2009, the Ido community benefitted from the IITA-UPoCA project.
The project is part of the USAID response to the effects of the 2008 food crisis that resulted in riots in some parts of the world.
Apart from Ido in Oyo state, other states that benefitted from the project were Osun, Ondo, Ekiti, Kogi, Nasarawa, and Benue states, according to a statement issued by IITA on Monday.
Dr. Richardson Okechukwu, the Deputy Manager, IITA-UPoCA project, said the success in Ido community was a replica of what happened in other countries where the project was implemented.
The increase in cassava yield had led to calls for increase in the number of cassava processing machines in Ido community.
The British American Tobacco Nigeria Foundation (BATNF) has responded to the call with the donation of cassava processing centre in the area to promote the processing of the crop.