Business News of Saturday, 23 December 2017
Source: M. Mohammed-Nurudeen
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization is seeking to strengthen links between small-scale players in root and tuber sector in Africa.
Recommendations are being considered for policy formulation aimed at improving livelihoods of farmers and actors in the value chain.
Target countries are Benin, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Malawi, Rwanda and Uganda.
Participants have been discussing access to good planting material, opportunities, constraints and business perspectives, among others on a theme: experience sharing on cassava production and protection.
Food and Agriculture Organization’s Regional Project Co-ordinator, Moussa Djagoudi, said it the program is the best way to strengthen linkages between small actors and buyers in the root and tuber industry.
“More than 70% of our actors are small scale farmers and making impact on them can improve our food security situations in Africa” He explained.
Roots and tubers constitute one of the most important crops in Africa, Caribbean and Pacific Regions.
Commercializing the crops for poverty reduction requires stronger linkages between small-holder and formal as well as semi formal markets.
Cassava, yam and potato are major crops of sustenance. They account for 20 percent of calories consumed in Africa.
They are not only important for food security but they are increasingly providing jobs, and giving income, particularly, for women and the youth.
Regional experience sharing workshop on cassava production and protection affords experts to compare notes on lessons from their respective countries.
Specific objectives include discussion on interventions and regulatory framework. Others include access to climatic risk management, access to information services and finance.
Nelson Kwaku is at Ghana’s Ministry of Food and Agriculture. He finds the meeting a platform to initiate efforts to increase productivity per unit area and diversify value addition.
“The small scale farmers are being challenged with two major things; one is about increasing the productivity per unit and to diversify in terms of value addition.”
In Malawi, cassava is the second staple behind maize, Raw material supply is however a challenge.
Joseph Jaffu works closely with University of Malawi. He says discussion on seed standard at the workshop is a boost for his country.
“We don’t have seed standard and I think it is very critical. The workshop is a complement.”