The Green Innovation Centers for Agriculture and Food Sector Program (GIAE) – Nigeria, has partnered with the Ibadan-based International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) to launch an 18-month project to boost maize and cassava production.
GIAE – Nigeria is being funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).
The Project Manager, Mr Godwin Atser, said on Wednesday, in Ibadan, that the project would also create job opportunities for youth and women in the two value chains, as well as build the capacities of smallholder farmers on productivity and farm safety technologies.
“It also aims at creating job opportunities for women and youths, through the establishment of commercial seed enterprises for retailing of disease-free improved stems, marketing of Aflasafe and Purdue Improved Crop Storage (PICS) bags.
He explained that the new project would be implemented by IITA in the four selected states, Kano, Kaduna for maize, and Oyo, Ogun state for cassava value chain.
According to him, the grant addresses three major activity areas: Integrated Pest Management (IPM) with a special focus on tackling the presence of the invasive arthropod pest and Fall Army Worm (FAW).
“Also, there is aflatoxin and food safety, with special focus on training of female maize growers, household caregivers and other actors on food safety and pre-/post-harvest management.
“Building a cassava seed system, where farmers will be involved in the production and sale of quality cassava stems to generate additional income.
Atser said the grant would also increase the capacity of farmers and extension agents, in modern maize and cassava production using digitalized solutions on good agricultural practices, Six Steps to Cassava Weed Management and Best Planting Practices, as well as other IITA digital tools.
Miss Sanne Chipeta, Head of Project, GIAE—Nigeria, said the project would improve food safety in the value chains, and contribute to food and nutritional security.
“In addition, the individual activities will help create new employment and livelihood opportunities, especially for young men and women,” she said.
She expressed optimism that the collaboration with IITA would overall add value and create positive results in the maize and cassava value chain.
To execute the project in the target states, she said IITA, as well as previous projects implemented by GIZ in the target states, would leverage on the knowledge generated by previous and ongoing projects such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation-funded Building an Economically Sustainable Integrated Cassava Seed System, Phase 2 (BASICS-II).
“It will leverage also on projects such as AgResults Aflasafe, African Cassava Agronomy Initiative (ACAI), IFAD-Zero Hunger Project, Youth in Agribusiness Projects, among others,” she said.