Towards ensuring availability of certified quality Cassava seeds, the National Seed Council (NASC) in collaboration with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research ( CGIAR ) programs on Roots, Tubers and Banana, organised an economically sustainable Cassava Seed System Basics workshop on Cassava Seed Certification Training for NASC Seed Certification Officers in the South East and South South regions.
Director General of NASC, Dr. said the two-day workshop was part of a long-term preparation by the BASICS team, IITA, the CGAIR root and banana project, the National Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI) Umuahia, and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation BMGF, funding the project.
He said building an economically sustainable integrated Cassava seed systems project, was designed to address the lingering problem and the weak link of the Value Chain of the seed system.
According to him, the purpose of the workshop was to train participants to acquire the needed skills for the certification of Cassava seed and get exposed to the use of cassava tracking system, which he said, was an innovation by the team of IITA scientists led by Dr. Lava Kumar.
He pointed out that Cassava, being a prime crop, with Nigeria being the largest world producer, there was the need for an enhanced and properly certified seed system to be introduced, adding that with the dream of an effective and efficient seeds system in cassava now in place, the Cassava Tracker to which the trainee-participants will be exposed to during the training, will address a long-term knotty issue in the cassava seed system.
According to him, the seamless communication platform will engender effective traceability capacity, inventory management and, of course, good regulatory control of seeds, which the agency stands for.
Describing the Cassava Seed Tracker device as a novel cassava seed certification system, he said; “it is to help them find the easier way of monitoring and tracking cassava seed. This is just the beginning of the new innovations NASC has set to unravel, in conjunction with its various partners.”
Executive Director of NRCRI, Dr. Julius Okonkwo stressed the importance of seeds and their certification, saying “without good quality seeds, there can’t be good results or harvests.”