Nigeria has produced a pro vitamin A (beta carotene rich) fortified cassava, which is more nutritious than existing varieties.
This is according to Dr Akinwumi Adesina, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, who adds that the production of the improved varieties has placed Nigeria on the global map in terms of research on micronutrient (vitamin A, iron, zinc and iodine) improvement in staple foods.
Adesina says: “The federal government’s focus is to create new markets for cassava, including high-quality cassavab flour to be used in replacing some of the wheat flour being imported to produce bread; high fructose cassava syrup to replace the 200,000t of sugar currently being used in the juice manufacturing industry; dried cassava chips; and the production of ethanol.”
“Our goal is to add another 17m tons of cassava to our domestic food supply of 34m tons. The Agricultural Transformation Action Plan hopes to create 1.3m jobs across the
cassava value chains, but producing more food is not enough; we must also ensure that there is enhanced food nutrition and health.”
Acting executive director of the National Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI), Dr Thomas Ezulike, expressed confidence in the ability of NRCRI to continue to improve crops, both nutritionally and in resistance and adaptation to changing climatic conditions.
“NRCRI has transformed into a leading research centre of excellence for root and tuber crops, and has blazed the trail of biotechnology through the establishment of a culture tissue laboratory; molecular breeding of root crops; confined field trials of genetically modified crops, and recently bio-fortification of staple crops,” he stated. – Daily Trust