Olusegun Obasanjo Farms, one of the largest agric businesses in Nigeria, has commissioned a new cassava breeding technology called Green House Technology that, at full capacity, produces three million cassava plantlets a year.
The launch at Obasanjo Farms in Owiwi in Ewekoro Council of Ogun State makes Nigeria the second country in Africa to have the new technology after the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
“The new technology has the capacity to produce about three million plantlets of cassava annually,” according to a statement issued by Obasanjo’s Media Assistant Kehinde Akinyemi.
Semi Autotrophic Hydrophonic Facility for Cassava Stem Multiplication, under the Technology for African Agric Transformation project, is in partnership with the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and was first introduced to the DRC which accepted and adopted into practice.
Akinyemi explained Obasanjo’s idea to implement the cassava technology in Nigeria came when he visited Central African Republic President Felix Tshisekedi last year.
At the commissioning, Obasanjo commended the IITA under the leadership of outgoing Director General Nteranya Sanginga for their foresight in bringing the technology to Africa.
“As we can see that it is evolutionary, we are taking the product of research and we are bringing it to commercial to produce for our needs and others.
“This is a technology that can grow cassava and get maximum level. This particular specie can give you 30 tonnes per hectare and that is what we are on with the consultant,” Obasanjo said, per reporting by Daily Trust.
Agriculture as a business
Obasanjo Farms Director Adeyemo Jamiyu applauded his vision for agriculture, stressing, “Baba as at today sees agriculture as agric business and what we are witnessing today is just part of that vision that for an agric business to create wealth and employment, elements of science should be incorporated.
“Baba has linked cassava production with science by his investment in this project to further empower millions of cassava farmers in the country.
“And to have that come to pass, there must be that part of science, which is being incorporated into agriculture. So today, we are seeing that aspect of the breeding operation in the crop sector with cassava as a point of reference.”
At the tour of the facility, guests were shown how pathogen-free cassava stems are multiplied with emphasis on its genetic potential and stress free in handling with respect to transportation.
“At full capacity,” Obasanjo explained, “the screenhouse has the potential to hold about one million plantlets, which is planting materials for 50ha, and this volume can be repeated two to three times a year. So, this can produce about three million plantlets annually.”