More re­search needed on Cas­sava

Daily Nation Newspaper - - HOME NEWS -

By BUSI­NESS REPORTER GOVERNMNET should pro­mote re­search and de­vel­op­ment in the cas­sava value chain in or­der for the crop to ben­e­fit small-scale farm­ers, Ind­aba Agri­cul­tural Pol­icy Re­search In­sti­tute (IAPRI) ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Chance Kabaghe has ad­vised.

Mr. Kabaghe ex­plained that af­ter the Lua­pula Expo which was held in July last year a num­ber of com­pa­nies had shown in­ter­est in in­vest­ing in the cas­sava value chain but that there was need to have va­ri­ety.

He said the cas­sava farm­ing and pro­cess­ing could take cen­tre-stage in stim­u­lat­ing value ad­di­tion and in­dus­tri­al­i­sa­tion as there was mas­sive po­ten­tial for de­vel­op­ment.

Mr Kabaghe was speak­ing in an in­ter­view with the Daily Na­tion in Lusaka.

He how­ever said more needed to be done in re­la­tion to re­search and de­vel­op­ment for this to be at­tained.

“The chal­lenge for the growth of the cas­sava value chain is the va­ri­eties. The cas­sava be­ing grown by small-scale farm­ers is not pro­duc­tive and even though there are some that are pro­duc­tive. “It is for this rea­son we as IAPRI have de­cided to start sup­port­ing the for­ma­tion of the Cas­sava As­so­ci­a­tion of Zam­bia as a non-gov­ern­men­tal or­gan­i­sa­tion that will help push the agenda of the needs that are re­quired in the sec­tor,” he said.

He noted that with­out an in­sti­tu­tion gov­ern­ing the sec­tor, fac­tors re­lated to va­ri­ety de­vel­op­ment would not be ad­dressed.

Mr Kabaghe said there was need for govern­ment to in­vest in re­search and de­vel­op­ment in the cas­sava value chain to help in­crease pro­duc­tion.

He noted that agri­cul­ture ex­ten­sion ser­vices were a musthave for the coun­try to en­sure that small scale farm­ers had ac­cess to ad­vanced va­ri­eties and proper agro­nomic prac­tices for in­creased pro­duc­tion.

“There was a be­lief af­ter the expo that Lua­pula has a lot of cas­sava but that is not the sit­u­a­tion on the ground as can be seen af­ter in­vestors went into the prov­ince,” he said.

He how­ever said the sit­u­a­tion would soon change for the bet­ter as more small-scale farm­ers had started grow­ing more of the crop.

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