BASICS project office launched
IITA Director General Nteranya Sanginga recently commissioned the offices of the new project Building an Economically Sustainable, Integrated Cassava Seed System (BASICS) in IITA headquarters, Ibadan, on 15 September in a formal ceremony attended by other IITA Management members, staff and scientists.
BASICS was set up to develop a sustainable cassava seed value chain in Nigeria. For the next four years, BASICS aims to help realize the full potential of cassava in the country. It will also serve as a channel to deliver quality cassava varieties, promote the adoption of new varieties, and improve productivity, and food security–all geared towards increasing the income of farmers, village seed entrepreneurs, processors, and intermediaries along the value chain.
Hemant Nitturkar, the project coordinator, said that cassava has a lot of potentials which can only be realized when the seed, agronomic practices and market linkages are all at optimum levels.
“Cassava has the potential to provide more than twice the amount of food and income it is currently providing to farmers, processors, consumers, and the nation at large. The way to extract more potential of cassava is to strengthen three ecosystems –research, quality assurance, and private sector. The RTB-led BASICS project is leveraging and enhancing the expertise of its partners to strengthen these areas towards developing an integrated and economically sustainable cassava seed system in Nigeria” he said.
Speaking at the office launch, Sanginga congratulated Nitturkar and his team for the project’s progress so far. He emphasized the need for more collaboration with the private sector and all other cassava- based projects to actualize the dream of making cassava a sustainable crop in Nigeria.
BASICS is funded by the Gates Foundation and coordinated by the CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers, and Bananas (RTB). It is lead by IITA in collaboration with the National Agricultural Seed Council (NASC), National Root Crops and Research Institute (NRCRI), Catholic Relief Services (CRS), Context Global Development, Food and Environment Research Agency of the UK (FERA), and International Potato Center (CIP).