IITA, SANO Foods collaborate on promotion of cassava varieties, consumption of locally processed agro-products

INTERNATIONAL Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) under the Building an Economically Sustainable, Integrated Cassava Seed System, Phase 2 (BASICS-II) and SANO Foods Limited have entered into a collaboration to promote the cultivation of cassava varieties as well consumption of locally processed agro-products by the general public.

Details of the partnership deal was made known during a joint public presentation of SANO Foods products and crop varietal display which held at IITA Conference Centre, Ibadan, Oyo State.

On display were the newly released cassava varieties which included Game Changer, Obasanjo-2, Hope, Poundable and Baba-70. Others were: TME 419, Farmer’s Pride, Dixon, Ayaya, Sunshine and Fine face.

Part of the deal is to create awareness on the newly released cassava varieties and at the same time draw consumers attention on the availability of locally made and nutritious foods designed to tackle malnutrition.

On display were the newly released cassava varieties which included Game Changer, Obasanjo-2, Hope, Poundable and Baba-70. Others were: TME 419, Farmer’s Pride, Dixon, Ayaya, Sunshine and Fine face.

All these varieties have yields above 20 tons per ha as opposed to local varieties that give less than 10 tons per ha.

Processed foods that were displayed included fortified Orange Fleshed Sweet Potato (OFSP) garri, Orange Fleshed Sweet Potato (OFSP) bread, lemon grass tea, among others.

The IITA Yam Improvement for Incomes and Food Security in West Africa, Phase II (YIFSWA-II) had improved yam varieties and value-chain products on display while the IITA mechanisation unit displayed locally made cassava harvesters.

In his keynote address, IITA Deputy Director-General (Partnerships for Delivery), Dr. Kenton Dashiell, noted that breeders were making great progress in the development of crop varieties but needed inputs of other stakeholders like the government and processors, who would add value to the research products.

According to him, the final development needed partnerships and collaborations with the private sector to add value to these crops, emphasizing that “I believe that is what SANO is doing and I’m sure we’ll get to learn more from them”

The Director, Development and Delivery Office of IITA, Dr. Alfred Dixon, who, in his own address, described the SANO-BASICS-II partnership as a “win-win collaboration”, stressed that “private sector led cassava development in Nigeria was essential for the transformational change of cassava in the country.”

“Together we will create an economically sustainable cassava value chain where every actor will have a space and benefit from cassava,” he said. “We will raise awareness and trigger the adoption of these varieties by farmers.”

The renowned cassava breeder harped on the need to harness the potentials of cassava as a poverty fighter to create jobs, fight food insecurity and boost the nation’s economy.

In his own remarks, the Acting General Manager of Sano Foods, Mr. Solomon Ojeleye, pointed out that SANO’s vision was to provide foods that are healthy and rich in vitamins. He identified Turmeric garri and OFSP garri, as two products the company developed through research to add nutritional value to cassava.

His words: “We have over 39 products in the market and all of them are organic because we put the health of our consumers first. We use puree, flour and roots of yellow cassava, Orange Fleshed Sweet Potato, yellow maize and other crops for the production of several confectioneries which includes varieties of bread, cookies and cakes, and baby food.

According to Dr. Mercy Diebiru-Ojo, Vegetative Seed Production Expert at IITA GoSeeed, some of the new and improved varieties currently being promoted boast of high vitamin A content. They also have excellent garri and fufu qualities and superb dry matter content, properties that are important to food processors, flour mills, and industries.

IITA BASICS-II Project Manager, Professor Lateef Sanni said working with organisations such as Sano Foods would advance the cassava value chain.

Other scientists who also spoke at the event were: IITA Director for West Africa Hub, Michael Abberton; NextGen Cassava Project, Ismail Rabbi and YIIFSWA-II Tissue Culture Specialist, Morufat Balogun, IITA Post-Harvest Engineer, Thierno Diallo,also made a presentation on locally produced cassava harvesters.

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