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Nigeria commends IITA over strides in cassava value addition

By Godwin Atser

The Nigerian government has lauded IITA's contribution towards cassava enterprise development, as the country intensifies the campaign to diversify its economy.

The commendation was made by the Minister of Commerce and Industry, Senator Jubril Martins-Kuye during the inauguration of a Gari Processing Center in Lafia, Nasarawa State.

The Center which is the third to be commissioned within two years is funded by the Common Fund for Commodities but implemented by IITA and partners including the Federal Ministry of Commerce & Industry, and the Farm and Infrastructure Foundation.

The two, earlier inaugurated by the team included Joe Bergg Cassava Processing factory in Masaka, Nasarawa State; and Shaback Gari Processing factory in Kuje, Abuja.

In his words, Martins-Kuye said, “I must also appreciate IITA, the Project Executing Agency, for their relentless efforts towards the success of this project.”

The Gari Processing factory in Lafia comes as a relief to a women group of more than 50 that are engaged in garri processing in the village of Agwan Mada, a suburb in Lafia.

Specifically, it has a capacity of processing at least one tonne of gari per day in a hygienic environment thereby guaranteeing food safety and security.

Martins-Kuye who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, FMC&I, Dr. A. K. Muhammad said the processing center would add value, enhance competitiveness and reduce waste in the cassava value chain.

According to him, “For any commodity to attract premium price in the market, both locally and internationally, it must necessarily pass through some level of processing.”

While expressing the willingness of Nigeria to continually support such projects, the minister noted that the Gari Processing Center would not only absorb the cassava produced in the country but also spur the cultivation of the crop.

The Women Leader of the benefiting group, Mrs. Talatu Umaru, who spoke on behalf of her colleagues, pledged that the group would ensure judicious use of the factory.

She commended the IITA-CFC team for coming to their aid, stressing that the Center would make their jobs easier, increase their incomes and improve livelihoods.

Prof. Lateef Sanni, IITA-CFC Project Coordinator, emphasized that the development of value chain projects seek to shift the country's attention from oil,—a commodity that currently provides more than 90 per cent of the country's revenue—generate employment and create sustainable wealth.

According to him, the establishment of cassava processing centers across the country is necessary for increased cassava production in the country and wealth generation in the local communities in particular.

He explained that the gari processing center was part of a bigger project funded by the CFC in three countries including Nigeria, Benin and Sierra Leone.

Sanni also urged the Nigerian government to replicate the processing centers in other communities.

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For more information, please contact:
Dr. Lateef Sanni, [email protected]
IITA-CFC Project Coordinator
Jeffrey Oliver, [email protected]
Corporate Communications Officer (International)
Godwin Atser, [email protected]
Corporate Communications Officer (West Africa)
Communication Office
IITA - Headquarters
Ibadan, Nigeria
URL: www.iita.org
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 non-profit R4D organization established in 1967, governed by a Board of Trustees, and supported primarily by the CGIAR.