By Mohammed Kandi
In a bid to boost quest for food security and the livelihoods of the rural farmers, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has endorsed the inclusion of cassava flour in bread and other confectioneries.
This follows the launching on 23 July 2014 of two projects under IFAD grant: Enhancing the Competitiveness of the High Quality Cassava Flour Value Chain (HQCF) in West and Central Africa; and Improving Quality, Nutrition and Health Impacts of Inclusion of Cassava Flour in Bread Formulation in West Africa (Nigeria and Ghana).
The projects, according to a statement by Godwin Atser, Media Officer at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) will support the generation, dissemination and adoption of improved technologies for cassava production and processing.
It also said: “The project will develop and pilot-test a set of integrated best-bet options for HQCF production and promote market access to secondary products; and develop and promote appropriate evidence-based models for sustainable value chain development for African agricultural commodities using HQCF production and processing and an example.”
Dr. Alfred Dixon, Project Leader for IITA project on ‘Sustainable Weed Management Technologies for Cassava Systems in Nigeria’, said the two IFAD-funded projects were timely, in view of Africa’s comparative advantage in cassava production.
Dr. Dixon, who represented the Director-General, IITA, Dr Nteranya Sanginga described cassava as a poverty fighter, and stressed that improving the utilization of the crop, and scaling up/out processing technologies would help Africa address the issue of poverty and hunger on the continent.
“Grown mostly by small scale farmers, cassava is a source of livelihood to about 600 million people in the developing world including Africa, Asia and Latin America. However, the value chain of the root crop is under developed”
A Senior Program Officer at IFAD, Dr. Malu Ndavi urged implementers and partners to work together towards ensuring that the project’s goals and objectives were delivered on time saying “Our expectation is that these projects will touch the lives of rural poor farmers.”