Mar 25, 2009

IITA develops cassava for improved nutrition

Le Mali en ligne - Mali

News - Africa news

Lagos, Nigeria - Scientists at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), based in Nigeria's South-west city of Ibadan, are working on cassava-based recipes that will be used in improving the nutrition and health of vulnerable groups, including women and children. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is funding the US$5.3 million project, which seeks to unleash the power of cassava in Africa (UPoCA). The two-year project, which covers Sierra Leone, DR Congo, Ghana, Nigeria, Malawi, Mozambique, Sierra Leone and Tanzania, also aims to introduce and test a cassava-based complementary food for acceptability in that country.

Speaking on Sunday during a field training of trainers on new farm measurement tools, UPoCA’s Project Manager, Dr. Braima James, said the project would deploy proven technologies to maximize production, commercialisation, 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.

IITA Crop Utilisation Specialist, Dr. Busie Maziya-Dixon, said that 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 ‘poor man’s crop’ but an industrial crop that is not just providing food for resource-poor farmers but also money in their pockets," she said.

Lagos - 22/03/2009

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