Summit to boost Nigeria’s cassava production underway — VCDP Coordinator

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The Federal Government and International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)-assisted Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP) say a national summit to boost the nation’s cassava production in underway.

Mr Garba Bala, National Programme Coordinator of FGN/IFAD-VCDP, said this at the inauguration of a cassava bulky centre and solar-powered borehole at Uli, Ihiala Local Government Area of Anambra on Saturday.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Bala had inaugurated similar projects at Ogbaru, Awka North and Anambra East Local Government Areas of the state.

“We are having problem with cassava off-taking unlike in the rice value chain where we have achieved a lot,” he said.

Bala said that the summit holding next week will have in attendance stakeholders including nine governors whose states are into large-scale cassava production, the Federal Government, agro-dealers, the Organised Private Sector and cassava farmers.

“Our aim is to seek ways to partner off-takers of raw cassava for the manufacturing sector and export,” he said.

The national coordinator commended the efforts of the Anambra government, especially in payment of counterpart funds.

He called on benefitting communities of the various projects to make judicious use of the facilities.

Bala expresses the need for more women and the youth to be involved in all the activities at the various centres to drive home the target of the programme.

Mr Nnamdi Onukwuba, the Commissioner for Agriculture, Mechanisation, Processing and Export, urged the beneficiaries to take ownership of the facilities.

Mr Nnamdi Agwuncha, the State Programme Coordinator of VCDP, said a total of 15 completed and equipped cassava bulky centres were ready for inauguration.

He promised to complete and equip other processing centres.

Mrs Janemary Nzelu, a beneficiary and chairperson, Covenant Cassava Processing centre, Ochuche-Umuodu, said that the farmers had yearned for the facilities until the FG/IFAD VCDP intervened.

Nzelu, while commending the Federal Government and IFAD for the gesture, appealed for the speedy completion and equipping of other processing centres to reduce the burden of other cassava farmers.