FG approves names for 10 cassava varieties to boost productivity – Official


The Federal Government has approved new names for 10 improved cassava varieties, in an effort to maintain Nigeria’s lead as the world’s largest producer of the root crop.

The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development,  Director, Federal Department of Extension Services,  Mrs. Karima Babangida, made this known during a virtual naming of the crops.

Babangida, who moved for the adoption of the names on behalf of the government, described the move as a ‘welcome development.’

“Our farmers can now be able to identify the different cassava varieties,” Babanginda said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ibadan reports that the branded varieties comprise six released varieties and four yet-to-be-released ones.

The released varieties and their new names are as follows: IBA961632 (Farmer’s Pride), IBA980581 (Dixon), CR36-5 (Ayaya), IBA070593 (Sunshine), and IBA980505 (Fine face).

Also, TME 419, a variety already popular among farmers, remained unchanged as TME419.

The yet-to-be-released (pre-released) varieties and their new names are: TMS13F1160P0004 (Game Changer), TMS13F1343P0022 (Obasanjo-2), NR130124 (Hope) and TMEB693 (Poundable).

NAN reports that the naming of the varieties was facilitated by the building of an economically sustainable, integrated and economically sustainable Cassava Seed System, Phase II (BASICS-II), that is being led by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and the NextGen Cassava Breeding project (NextGen Cassava).

Results on common names of the varieties from focus groups were collated and screened by an independent committee.

The best three names that resonate with the market were subjected to voting by cassava farmers, and names with the highest votes were finally picked.

Also speaking, the Executive Director, National Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI) Umudike, Prof. Ukpabi Ukpabi, expressed optimism that the naming of varieties using common names would continue.

According to the professor, the naming of the crop varieties will help to change the game in the seed system of root and tuber crops in Nigeria, and also serve as a model for other African countries.

Re-echoing the significance of the event, the IITA Deputy Director- General (Partnerships for Delivery), Dr Kenton Dashiell, noted that the re-naming of the varieties was imperative.

“It will help the cassava sector in a big way; the brand names mark a departure from codes that are usually handed to farmers by researchers and often difficult to memorise,” he said.

Similarly, Prof. Chiedozie Egesi, Project Manager for NextGen Cassava Project, observed that code names were hard to remember or confusing, which could lead to loss of identity of a variety or mixtures in farms.

“Substituting the official names of the varieties with simpler, or more relatable brand names, will make farmers more familiar and closer to the varieties.

“From the BASICS-II project, two early generation seed companies, IITA GoSeed and Umudike Seeds, have been set up to ensure the production and commercialisation of breeders and foundation seeds in a sustainable manner, to ensure constant access to quality planting material of improved varieties,” he said.

The BASICS-II Project Manager, Prof. Lateef Sanni, said that the variety naming would enhance the cassava stems promotion activities of the project since farmers would be able to identify and relate better with the new names, especially as the farmers also participated in the naming process.

NAN reports that all the varieties named are high-yielding, Cassava Mosaic Disease-resistant and are in high demand by farmers.

The five-year Phase II (BASICS-II) project, aims to transform the cassava seed sector, by promoting the dissemination of improved varieties thereby creating a community of seed entrepreneurs across the cassava value chain.

The project will focus on Nigeria and Tanzania, with spin-off to other African countries. (NAN)

– Sept. 25, 2020 @ 16:35 GMT |

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