The Federal Government has distributed 1000 high yielding, disease resistant and Vitamin A cassava stems to 100 farmers in Kwara.
Deola-Tayo Lord-Banjou, the Project Manager, Roots and Tuber Expansion Programme, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said this on Thursday in Ilorin.
He explained that the stems were distributed to allow farmers have access to improved cassava planting materials.
Mr Lord-Banjou said there are 1000 bundles of cassava stems to be shared among the 100 selected farmers to boost agricultural development as a viable and profitable business.
He said the improved new stem has several advantages over the traditional cassava stem currently being used by farmers in Nigeria because of its super yield.
”It takes about 25 months while this improved species takes about 12 months or even less than.
”If it is left for about 15 months, the yield will be almost double that of local spcies.
”It can also tolerate drought and it is resistant to pest and diseases,” the project manager said.
Mr Lord-Banjou added that cassava planting has become a gold mine that the beneficiaries should utilise.
”In Nigeria, any farmer that desire to gain from cassava planting must plant the right cassava material.
”We are hoping that this 10 bundles will by next year materialise to 30 or 40 bundles.
”When they plant, they will get good money from it which will improve their standard of living,” he said.
On the selected farmers, the project manager said it was done by the state ministry of agriculture through the Agricultural Development Project of the state and the state Directorate of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture.
He added that some of the beneficiaries are members of Cassava Growers Association of Nigeria, Kwara branch, already known to the ministry.
Isa Aliu, the State Coordinator, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, urged the farmers to plant the materials as required and not sell them.
”We will be monitoring them as farming commences, so, that is where we will be able to know how they have utilised them.
”But they are known farmers to us, so they will not sell them but plant them,” Mr Aliu said.
One of the farmers, Remi Ogundipe, commended the gesture and urged the government to increase the number.
He noted that 100 farmers out millions of farmers in Kwara is like a drop in the ocean.
Another farmer, Balikis Lateef, said it would be more useful since it matured early compared to the old stem they do plant.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Kwara is among the nine states to benefit from the programme.
The other states are Ogun, Oyo, Kogi, Nasarawa, Edo, Rivers, Kano and Katsina.