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BASICS-II holds first Cassava Seed Business Summit 2021

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BASICS-II holds first Cassava Seed Business Summit 2021 as Summit brings cassava seed system to the front burner

The Building an Economically Sustainable and Integrated Cassava Seed System, Phase II (BASICS-II) project has successfully organized the first cassava business summit to bring attention to the importance of creating a formal system in the cassava sector.

A key objective was to provide a platform for actors in the cassava seed sector to collaborate, share the BASICS-II model and innovations that would foster the emergence of an economically viable and sustainable formal cassava seed system.

The Summit, which was held on Tuesday, was convened by Sahel Consulting with over 92 cassava seed sector stakeholders in attendance with the theme: “The Critical Roles of Stakeholders in Promoting Access to Quality Cassava Stems.”

The virtual Summit also sought to encourage private sector actors to harness the opportunities in the emerging formal seed system for cassava in Nigeria.

In his speech, Temitope Adegoroye, Partner at Sahel Consulting, highlighted the cassava seed system’s challenges, including the low yield of smallholder farmers in Nigeria despite the country accounting for approximately 20% of global cassava production. According to him, there are opportunities in the cassava seed system sub-sector to catalyze Nigeria’s agricultural transformation. He noted, however, that these opportunities have not been fully tapped for job creation, income generation, and food security. Temi further stated that the need for effective collaboration amongst all cassava stakeholders to maximize the potential in the value chain gave birth to the first edition of the Cassava Seed Business Summit.

In his opening remarks, Dr. Alfred Dixon, the Director, Development & Delivery at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), emphasized the significance of cassava as an engine in Africa’s socio-economic growth and development. In addition, he stated that increasing competitiveness in the cassava value chain would ensure food security, alleviate poverty, and improve livelihoods in Nigeria and sub-Saharan Africa.

Elder Emmanuel Ijewere, Vice-president of Nigeria Agribusiness Group (NABG); Pastor Segun Adewumi, President of Cassava Growers Association of Nigeria (NCGA); and Mr. Charles Adeniji, President, Industrial Cassava Stakeholders Association of Nigeria (ICSAN), also delivered goodwill messages. They expressed their excitement at the emergence of a platform that serves as a discussion forum for stakeholders in the cassava seed sector. Furthermore, they underscored the increasing demand for quality cassava stems and the opportunities within the cassava seed system.

Dr. Joseph Onyeka, Director at National Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI), who represented Prof. Ukpabi Joseph Ukpabi, Executive Director of NRCRI, expressed delight at the emergence of the Cassava Seed Business Summit at this crucial time. He stated that the Summit would assist in mobilizing capital and human resources to ensure timely, adequate, and profitable interventions in the cassava value chain.

For Dr. Phillip Ojo, Director-General of Nigeria Agricultural Seeds Council (NASC), the Cassava Seed Business Summit was timely as it arose when Nigeria was faced with challenges that a robust cassava seed sector could address.

A panel session tagged: “Backward Integration Focusing on Cassava Seed Multiplication–The Perspectives of Industrial Processors” provided an expose on the experiences and challenges of industrial processors. Chinedu Agbara, a manager at Sahel Consulting, moderated the panel, which comprised cassava processing industry leaders and experts, namely: Mrs. Yemisi Iranloye, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Psaltry International Limited; Mrs. Nike Tinubu, Executive Director of Eagleson & Nito Concepts Limited and General Manager of Premium Cassava Products Limited (PCPL); Mr. Seyi Oyenuga, Executive Director of ATMANcorp Nigeria Limited; and Mr. Tunde Solaja, Managing Director of Crest Agro Products Limited.

In his closing comments, Prof. Lateef Sanni, Project Manager of BASICS-II project, promised to promote engagement with the private sector actors in cassava seed production, stressing that the private sector was crucial for cassava transformation.

The Summit can be accessed on YouTube via this link: https://youtu.be/6StP0K2np0s

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