Farmers in Benue State have received training from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture on cassava processing, packaging, value addition, and utilization. The farmers are encouraged to apply the knowledge gained to enhance their cassava products and avoid rejection in the international market.
Boniface Tongov, the State Coordinator of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, explained that the training aimed to educate and create awareness among cassava farmers regarding proper production and handling techniques. The objective is to ensure that the product reaches the end-user in optimal condition.
Tongov highlighted the Federal Government’s focus on value chain addition for cassava, encouraging farmers to increase production for both food and industrial purposes. The training also introduced farmers to different cassava species that have shorter maturity times and longer shelf spans when properly processed. Tongov reassured farmers that the government had made provisions for marketing the product.
Dooshima Zaki, the Program Manager of BNARDA (Benue Agricultural and Rural Development Authority), praised the federal government’s initiative and emphasized the need for sensitization among Benue farmers. She stressed the importance of selecting the right cassava variety and applying appropriate chemicals to meet international standards and prevent rejection in the international market.
Zaki emphasized that the timing of the training was opportune, as it would enable farmers to understand the various value chains involved in cassava production and enhance the quality of their products. She stated that cassava alone had the potential to feed the entire country if properly processed.
The program manager advised farmers to collaborate with cooperative groups to access soft loans and receive timely information through their leaders. BNARDA’s main role is to facilitate direct connections between farmers and companies that produce quality agricultural inputs.
Several participants, including Wo Benjamin and Victorian Tarbo, expressed their appreciation to the federal government for supporting farmers, particularly cassava farmers who often faced losses due to a lack of knowledge.
They expressed gratitude for the government’s intervention, recognizing the significance of the training in equipping them with valuable skills and knowledge. Wo Benjamin and Victorian Tarbo, among other participants, acknowledged that the lack of knowledge had previously led to financial losses in their cassava farming ventures.
The training program not only focused on improving the quality of cassava products but also highlighted the importance of the entire value chain. Farmers were encouraged to work collectively in cooperative groups, enabling them to access soft loans and receive timely information through their leaders. This collaborative approach would help them stay updated on best practices and market demands.
The Federal Ministry of Agriculture’s efforts in providing training and support to cassava farmers in Benue State reflect the government’s commitment to promoting agricultural development and empowering rural communities. By enhancing the skills and knowledge of farmers, the government aims to improve productivity, increase income, and contribute to food security in the nation.
With the newfound expertise gained from the training, farmers in Benue State are optimistic about the future of their cassava farming endeavors. They are determined to apply the techniques learned to enhance the quality of their cassava products, meet international standards, and tap into both local and international markets. Through these efforts, they aim to maximize the economic potential of cassava and contribute to the overall growth and prosperity of the agricultural sector in Nigeria.