WAVE Intensifies Drive To Prevent Root and Tuber Crops Diseases.

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WAVE Intensifies Drive To Prevent Root and Tuber Crops Diseases.

As the Central and West Africa Virus Epidemiology for Food Security ( WAVE) project intensifies drive to address and prevent Root and Tuber crops diseases to ensure their improved yields, Nigeria’s global leadership in Cassava seems to have stagnated.

Nigeria has been leading globally in some root and tuber crops production with current outputs put at Cassava 63 million metric tonnes, Yam 50 million and Cocoyam ( Taro ) 3.2 million tonnes.

In the drive to check the diseases Dr Chukwuemeka Nkere, who is the WAVE Project Country Director for Nigeria’s South East and South South Regions, said that under the project, which is targeted at preventing crops diseases, Cassava Demonstration Farms/ Plots were established across the country ( Nigeria).

He said that Farmers are practically being educated in these farms on how to identify diseases- free and or infected crops, where to source the right varieties and how to adopt the right agronomic measures in planting and managing farms to ensure maximum yields/harvests .

He added that WAVE is working sustainably to stop viruses and diseases that infect and attack Cassava and other crops which by so doing affect food security attainment negatively.

The WAVE Regional Country Director ( Dr Nkere) spoke at the demonstration farm located within the premises of Abia State Agricultural Development Programme (ADP) at Umuahia the state capital, during the evaluation of the harvested Cassava planted last year which were found to be diseases /virus- free.

This same harvest evaluation exercise was effected at Akwa Ibom State’s three Senatorial Districts namely Ikot Ekpene, Uyo and Eket and at Ohafia and Obingwa in Abia North and South Districts.

Dr Nkere, a Research Scientist at the National Root Crops Research Institute ( NRCRI ) Umudike Abia state who recalled that new varieties of high yielding Cassava and other root and tuber crops were made available to farmers, was asked if with the introduction of Diseases/Virus- free Cassava Varieties and the education of the farmers in that regard had impacted positively and increased Nigeria’s Cassava output.

He said that sharp increase has not been recorded in Cassava Output but that there has been increase in the size of land cultivated .

He attributed the scenario to the conservative nature and disposition of farmers towards adopting new ways of doing things adding that WAVE project, sustains educating the farmers on the gains of adopting agronomic farming practices that would increase higher Cassava output. 

 Chief Israel Amanze , the Programme Manager of the State ADP who spoke during the harvest exercise through Mrs Nnenna Uche, the ADP Director Technical Services, said that the ADP provided the land used for the Demonstration Farm and also trained the farmers selected from the state three zones Umuahia, Aba and Ohafia.

Also, the ADP Farm Manager Mr Nwadibia Chukwuemeka said the project has helped create WAVE awareness to farmers disclosing that about 50 Extension Agent farmers have been trained and given GSM Android Phones with an application that would help them dictate the diseases before they affect the cassava.

One of the trained farmers Mrs Nkechinyere Kelechi said that the training taught them a better ways and method of planting cassava to avoid virus and disease attack and commended the NRCRI for creating the awareness to farmers expressing optimism that adopting what they learnt would increase their yields and profits.