Sep 8, 2012

Cassava News 104

FOOD CROPS Cassava News 104 (Tin Mới Cây Sắn)
KM140 Cassava Variety, Photo by NgocphuongNam
Tanzanian government, IITA to further joint efforts to develop cassava industry in the country
Cassava has and will always play a big role in improving the lives of farmers in Tanzania as it is widely grown in most parts of the country and holds immense potential as a cash crop through value addition. The government will therefore support efforts aimed at supporting farmers to optimize the crop and realize this potential, the Minister of Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives, Hon Engineer Christopher Chiza has said.
Hon Chiza noted that in Tanzania cassava still suffers from being widely perceived as a fall-back crop during famine while the prevalence of cassava mosaic and cassava brown streak diseases hamper  its production. 
The minister was speaking to a delegation from the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) led by Dr Victor Manyong, Director for Eastern Africa, during a courtesy call to the minister’s office this week.
The minister also noted that although a lot of cassava is being grown in different parts of the country and some even exported to neighboring countries, a good volume of the crop is still wasted and rotting in many farmers’ fields. He therefore urged IITA to continue assisting the country’s farmers to optimally produce and use this crop through its research efforts, and in return he assured the team of his ministry’s full support.
He said the country  needed research on processing and on marketing, and the findings to be widely disseminated to reach farmers. He added that farmers also need access to varieties that can withstand the two main cassava diseases.
Dr Manyong, on his part, said Tanzania is one of IITA’s priority countries and that the institute is investing a lot of resources to boost its research and development capabilities and activities in the country.
He emphasized that it is due to the good support received from the government that IITA decided to establish its Eastern Africa Hub in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. He added that IITA is currently constructing a state-of-the-art science building at its offices in Mikocheni to backstop its research activities in the country. He reported that the science facility will be completed early next year.
Dr Manyong also assured the honourable minister  that IITA will bring to fore its abundant technical expertise to support the Tanzanian government in enhancing the country’s agricultural sector, especially focusing its efforts towards cassava commercialization.
Dr Kanju, IITA Cassava Breeder who was also with the visiting delegation, told the minister that the institute, together with relevant government departments and development partners in the country,  had achieved significant successes in developing cassava varieties that were tolerant to the two diseases. He added that some of these varieties have already been officially released to farmers.  He noted, however, that the challenge now is producing enough planting materials to address the demands of farmers. To this end, he said that IITA and its partners are undertaking planting material multiplication efforts.
The minister assured the IITA team that in order to help with the multiplication efforts, his office will explore the possibility of tapping into institutions such as prisons and the National Youth Service (NYS).

For more information, please contact:
Catherine Njuguna (
IITA East Africa Hub
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Dear Hoang Kim,      
Below, please find a press release that may be of interest to your blog.
Warm regards,
For immediate release
08  September 2012

About IITA
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 nonprofit R4D organization established in 1967, governed by a Board of Trustees, and is a CGIAR Research Center.

Lessons from Vietnam (Trip report of Mr. Boma)

“Vietnam is a classic example of how cassava can contribute to rural industrialization and development. Previously, people were reluctant to grow cassava because they thought that cassava caused soil degradation and produced low profits. But in reality one hectare of cassava can produce 60-80 tones of fresh roots and leaves. The situation has changed because of the development of sustainable cultivation techniques and new high-yielding varieties with the availability of a large and growing market demand. Cassava has become a cash crop in many provinces of Vietnam. Cassava chips and starch is now being produced competitively, and cassava markets are promising. The combination of wide spread production of fresh cassava roots and the processing of cassava into chips starch and ethanol has created many jobs, has increased exports, attracted foreign investment, and contributed to industrialization and modernization of several rural areas”.

Fictures: Boga Boma and Nigerians biofuel group visit to Vietnam


CROPS FOR BIOFUEL to follow up 234NEXT.COM. By Ayodamola Owoseye December 20, 2009. With the whole world clamouring for reduction in the burning of carbon in order to slow down the effects of global warming, Nigeria may soon be able to reduce its carbon emission by using ethanol fuel as substitute for kerosene. (Picture: Dwindling cassava cultivation inhibits the planned conversion of cassava to ethanol for energy production)

More ...

Boma Anga, the chief executive officer of Cassava Agro Industries Service Ltd (CAISL) said in a telephone interview that Nigerians will soon be able to use ethanol across the country as an option for household cooking fuel.

"Nigerians will be able to purchase ethanol fuel for cooking by March 2010," said Mr. Anga. "The cooking fuel also known as Cassakero (cassava-kerosene) will be available to the public as an alternative to kerosene in order to reduce the money spent on fuel usage by most families," Mr. Anga added.

Ethanol as substitute

The idea of looking for a substitute for the carbonised cooking fuel (kerosene) and wood came as a result of the harmful impact on the environment and climate change.

Since carbon burning has been identified as one of the reasons for climate change, the world decided to look for alternative means in terms of biofuel, which is renewable fuel derived from biological matter, for instance biodiesel, biogas, and methane which are all believed to have less hazardous impact on the ecosystem.

Mr. Anga said the Cassakero initiative was planned as substitute for kerosene and wood for Nigerians through the production of ethanol from cassava root.

"This is to promote the use of ethanol as a substitute for kerosene in the country as this will reduce the greenhouse effect caused by the use of carbon fuel. The programme is targeted toward installing about 10,000 small-scale bio ethanol refineries in the 36 states of the federation, including the FCT, over the next four years, to produce daily ethanol cooking fuel requirement for four million families," he said.

Food security

But the project is raising concerns about food security as cassava is a major staple of most Nigerians. It is used in producing flour which is made into a paste and the popular garri, eaten in most homes across the land.

Mr. Anga, however, said the project will not have any negative effect on cassava supply in the market nor will it affect food security as the companies will be using specially cultivated, industrial cassava.

"Considering the tonnes of cassava required for the project, I want to assure you that it will not endanger food security as we will be using non-edible industrial variety of cassava which will be planted on fresh land.

"We have already established a feedstock supply that will produce eight million tonnes of cassava at an average yield of 25 tonnes per hectares from 320,000 hectares to be planted nationwide. To also ensure a steady supply of cassava for the feedstock, we have signed a contract with Nigerian Cassava Growers Association (NCGA) to supply eight million tonnes of cassava tubers," he added.

He said the contract would benefit over 250,000 cassava farmers across the country with additional 400,000 hectares to be deployed for cassava cultivation as the refinery will require 40 hectares of cassava to supply 100 per cent feedstock requirement annually.

Cassava farmers welcome the initiative

Cassava farmers see this as a welcome initiative, as it will increase the market for the produce and encourage more people to embark on farming.

Jimoh Bashir, a cassava farmer, said the initiative is a good one as this will allow more farmers to cultivate the crop more, knowing that there is a market for it as compared to when farmers had to seek for buyers to buy the commodity from them.

"This is a nice initiative that we hope will last long as it will open up the market," Mr. Bashir said.

"Most of what is produced in the country is used in the food sector. Having the product used in the industries will only enhance our financial status as this means there will be more produce with a ready market. This means most of the farmers that have abandoned farming will be lured back to it," he said.

Mr. Bashir is, however, concerned about the affect of this on food production in the country as there is a tendency for farmers to change from producing edible cassava for the industrialised ones.

"This might, however, pose a threat to the production of edible cassava by farmers. Farmers will tend to concentrate more on producing the industrial cassava root with a ready market and use, than cultivating the normal ones. This might also affect the market price of the crop," he said.

Economic implications for Nigerians

With the federal government's plan to deregulate the downstream oil sector which might lead to a sharp increase in the prices of petroleum products, especially kerosene, the domestic cooking fuel for most households, the average Nigerian will have to spend more on the purchase of the product or seek alternative means such as coal or wood which will further endanger the environment.

Mr. Anga arued that ethanol will be cheaper and available for the masses as it burns slower than the normal kerosene fuel.

"The new fuel will be locally produced; and provide Nigerians with a new household fuel for use in cooking, lighting, heating, refrigeration and electricity generation. This fuel will be cleaner, safer and cheaper than kerosene without the need for government subsidy and the introductory price will be retailed at about N75 per litre," he said.

"The production and the distribution of the ethanol based appliances will create employment and wealth to investors and the nation in general. The programme will also create sustainable employment and reduce poverty and deforestation while enhancing food and energy security in the Nation.

"The primary goal is to make ethanol as a cooking fuel available, accessible and affordable, in a commercially profitable and sustainable manner, to low income Nigerians," he added.

Food Crops News

FOOD CROPS Food Crops News 105 (Bản tin Cây Lương thực Quốc tế)

Cassava News : Tin mới Cây Sắn, Photo by Hoàng Long

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