Business a.m.

Trans-border transporta­tion of cassava stem banned

● demand over N10 billion per annum ● over 40 varieties in Nigeria ● farmers to source from National Growers Seed Council

- Dikachi Franklin , Owerri

Trans-border transporta­tions of agricultur­al planting materials from East Africa to West Africa, specifical­ly cassava stems have been banned as a result of cassava stems and cassava roots diseases prevalent in the East African countries, this is even as the demand for cassava stems in Nigeria is rising and exceeding

N10billion annually.

Nigeria, the largest world producer of cassava has more than 40 cassava varieties in use for its numerous farmers and its ability to grow well in poor soils and also withstand drought make it an ideal crop to cultivate in places where other crops struggle, Joseph Onyeka, director of Nawant tional Roots Crops Research Institute(NRCRI), Umudike, Umuahia, Abia state told Business A.M exclusivel­y.

“What I am saying is that presently, to avoid the movement of diseases from East Africa to West Africa, the government does not allow the movement of planting materials ,especially the cassava stem dicease into Nigeria.

“The cassava stem disease prevalent here is a trans-border disease , we to make sure that we do not give any chance for the multiplica­tion of that dangerous disease to come here “, Joseph Onyeka, said.

Nigeria being the largest producer of cassava in the world with approximat­ely 45 million tonnes annually which is almost 19 percent production in the world and over 70 percent of total production in the African continent , “so we do not need to bring in any new cassava into Nigeria.

“We need to protect the cassava we have here and it is very vital and we cannot risk it by bringing strange disease into Nigeria. We should be exporting cassava stems and therefore, we need to protect the cassava industry in Nigeria “, he said.

He informed that the cassava production in the country is well developed and an organized agricultur­al crop, just as it has also a wellestabl­ished multiplica­tion and processing techniques for food products and also for the cattle feeds.

To avoid multiplica­tion of cassava disesses like, bacteria blight, cassava anthracnos­e, bud necrosis , leaf spots and root rot, he advised that “farmers should source their planting materials from credible an certified seed growers.

“We have team of farmers trained under the leadership of the National Growers Seed Coucil (NGSC), who are regulated in their practice of producing descent quality stems, where you get assured that they are disease free”.

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