by Press Release
TheLiberianTimes.com - New York,NY,USA Mar 20, 2009
Scientists at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture are working on cassava-based recipes that will be used in improving the nutrition and health of vulnerable groups (women, children under 5, and pregnant women), thanks to a .3 million United States Agency for International Development project that is seeking to unleash the power of cassava in Africa (UPoCA). Besides the cassava-based recipes that will be first introduced in Sierra Leone, the project also aims to introduce and test a cassava-based complementary food for acceptability in that country.
The 2-year project covers Sierra Leone, DR Congo, Ghana, Nigeria, Malawi, Mozambique, Sierra Leone and Tanzania.
Speaking during a field training of trainers on new farm measurement tools (Global Positioning System) in Seirra Leone, UPoCAâ€™s Project Manager, Dr. Braima James, said the project would deploy proven technologies to maximize production, commercialization, value addition and utilization of cassava.
"The project aims to ensure adequate supply of cassava and cassava food products at economically-affordable prices in the participating countries by making readily available improved cassava varieties, production processes and farm gate processing. Information, education and communication strategies will help to boost previously piloted research-for-development gains in the cassava sub-sector," James who is also an IITA Scientist said.
He added that knowing the locations of cassava processing sites would guide UPoCA to select and train clusters of farmers around those sites in the projectâ€™s value chain.
IITA Crop Utilization Specialist, Dr. Busie Maziya-Dixon said the institute had developed several food products from cassava, proving that cassava is not just a food crop but also a cash crop.
"Cassava is no longer seen as a â€˜poor manâ€™s cropâ€™ but an industrial crop that is not just providing food for resource-poor farmers but also money in their pockets," she said.
According to IITA Trainer, Mr. Atcha Cyprien, the GPS is a world-wide satellite-based system used in measuring three dimensional position of a point any where on earth. He emphasized that the device is a receptor which works with the 24 satellites that revolves around the earth sending signals.
The 17 participants for the training were drawn from the Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Food Security (MAFFS), Operation Feed The Nation, Planning Evaluation Monitoring Statistic Division, Crop Protection Service of MAFFS and Research Into Use (RIU) units of Kailahun, Kono, Bo, Bonthe, Bombali, Kambia districts and the Western Area of Sierra Leone.
Africa has complex problems that plague agriculture and people's lives. We develop agricultural solutions with our partners to tackle hunger and poverty. Our award winning research for development (R4D) is based on focused, authoritative thinking anchored on the development needs of sub-Saharan Africa. We work with partners in Africa and beyond to reduce producer and consumer risks, enhance crop quality and productivity, and generate wealth from agriculture. IITA is an international non-profit R4D organization since 1967, governed by a Board of Trustees, and supported primarily by the CGIAR.
Godwin Atser, firstname.lastname@example.org
Corporate Communications Officer
IITA - Headquarters