The Green Innovation Centre for the Agriculture and Food Sector Program (GIAE) – Nigeria is launching an 18-month project to boost maize and cassava production and create jobs for youth and women in the value chains. The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) implements GIAE on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
IITA will be implementing the new project in four states—Kaduna and Kano for maize and Ogun and Oyo for the cassava value chain.
The project will train smallholder farmers on productivity and farm safety technologies. It will also create employment opportunities for women and youth by establishing commercial seed enterprises for retailing disease-free improved stems, marketing of Aflasafe and the Purdue Improved Crop Storage (PICS) bags—a simple, cost-effective, and non-chemical agricultural storage bag.
According to the Project Manager, Godwin Atser, the grant addresses three major activity areas: integrated pest management (IPM) with a particular focus on tackling the presence of the invasive arthropod pest, Fall Army Worm (FAW); aflatoxin and food safety with a particular focus on training female maize growers, household caregivers, and other actors on food safety and pre-/post-harvest management; and (III) building a cassava seed system where farmers will be involved in the production and sale of quality cassava stems to generate additional income.
The grant will also train farmers and extension agents in modern maize and cassava production using digital solutions on good agricultural practices (GAP), Six Steps to Cassava Weed Management and Best Planting Practices, and other IITA digital tools like the herbicide calculator, AKILIMO, Seed Tracker, and cassava e-market.
Sanne Chipeta, Head of Project, Green Innovation Center for the Agriculture and Food Sector—Nigeria, GIZ, noted that the collaboration with IITA would help improve productivity and food safety in the value chains, contributing to food and nutritional security. In addition, the individual activities will help to create new employment and livelihood opportunities, especially for young men and women. She expressed optimism that the collaboration with IITA would add value and produce positive results in the maize and cassava value chain.
To execute the project in the target states, IITA, as well as previous projects implemented by GIZ in the target states, will leverage the knowledge generated by previous and ongoing projects such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation-funded Building an Economically Sustainable Integrated Cassava Seed System, Phase 2 (BASICS-II). Other projects that will serve as knowledge banks include AgResults Aflasafe, African Cassava agronomy Initiative (ACAI), IFAD-Zero Hunger Project, Youth in Agribusiness Projects, TAAT Programs, and ongoing State and Federal Government-funded agricultural programs, including the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)-Anchor Borrowers Program, being implemented by several state governments for various value chains.