The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA), has ended a daylong intensive Cassava processing workshop in Suakoko, Bong County.
The IITA is a non-profit institution that generates agricultural innovations to meet Africa’s most pressing challenges of hunger, malnutrition, poverty, and natural resource degradation.
Working with various partners across sub-Saharan Africa, it improves livelihoods, food and nutrition security, employment, and preservation of natural resource integrity.
In an interview with the INSIGHT Tuesday at the Central Agriculture Research Institute (CARI) compound in Bong County during the training of over fifteen people, Smallholder Agricultural Productivity Enhancement and Commercialization Project Cassava Value Chain Specialist, Dr. Awoyale Wasiu, said the workshop was aimed at enhancing the knowledge and skills of participants in the maintenance and use of Cassava processing machines.
Dr. Wasiu said IITA which is a research-for-development (R4D) organization provides solutions to hunger, poverty, and the degradation of natural resources in Africa.
Since 1967, IITA has worked with international and national partners to improve livelihoods, enhance food and nutrition security, increase employment, and preservation of natural resource integrity.
He said IITA is guided by an ambitious strategy–to lift 11.5 million people out of poverty and revitalize 7.5 million hectares of farmland–by 2020.
As one of 15 research centers in the CGIAR, a global partnership for a food secured future; IITA is engaged in several CGIAR Research Programs (CRPs).
“IITA has delivered more than 70% of the CGIAR’s impact in sub-Saharan Africa and remains committed to science-driven improvement of agriculture and related food value chains,” he told the INSIGHT.
He said, cassava is the second stable food crop most consumed in Liberia after rice.
According to him, cassava can grow and do well in almost all counties in the country and is produced by over 60%o farming households.
He, however, indicated that Cassava is a perishable commodity with a shelf of less than three-days after harvest.
Processing, he further narrated, provides a means of producing shelf stable products, thereby reducing losses by adding value at a local rural level; and reducing the bulk to be marketed.
According to him, there is a need to strengthen and increase the domestic production systems in order to achieve food security, and contribute to the Country’s GDP.
Dr. Wasiu also stated that with Cassava processing machines at CARI and other parts of the Country, it will encourage farmers especially cassava farmers.
For her part, a staff of the Central Agriculture Research Institute (CARI) Post Harvest and Processing Department, who represented the institution at the training workshop, Madam Abebatu Kromah cautioned participants to focus on the training in order to take over from those international specialists who are building their (locals) farming capacities for the betterment of CARI and the Country.
She assured her department’s fullest support for the training initiative.
She said it will enable Liberian farmers who are engage in the production of cassava to be successful.
“The farmers will be able to have more money for themselves and to better their lives,” she added
Madam Kromah wants residents of the County and other parts of the Country to see the Cassava processing machines in CARI as a boost for farming activities in that part of the country.
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