More research needed on Cassava
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.