FG, Taraba launch first fertilizer blend for tubers
Hauwa Noroh Ali, Abuja
The International Centre for Soil Fertility and Agricultural Development (IFDC), in partnership with the Federal and Taraba Governments in Nigeria, has launched the first fertilizer blend for roots and tuber crops.
A statement by the IFDC says that the new input was launched in the Wukari Local Government Area of Taraba, North Eastern Nigeria, under the cassava input initiative programme.
The statement, signed by the IFDC Country Representative, Mr Scott Wallace, noted that the blend included a higher ratio of potassium, which is critical for water retention.
It said that the new input would go a long way in assisting cassava and yam farmers to increase their yields and maintain adequate soil fertility for future years.
``The root and tuber blend (nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, sulphur) will go a long way in assisting cassava and yam farmers to increase their yields and maintain adequate soil fertility for future years."
Wallace said that the new input, would allow the state's cassava farmers to take advantage of the Dutch Agricultural Development & Trading Company (DADTCO) guaranteed market.
DADTCO is a Netherlands-based company with branches in Nigeria and whose primary goal is to initiate a rural development revolution by creating guaranteed markets for crops grown by small holder farmers in the West-African region.
The most important activity of the company is its integrated approach towards agricultural development.
DADTCO, together with its partners, covers the whole cassava value chain, from agricultural production with smallholder farmers, input supplies, cassava processing and the marketing of the final product in local and international markets.
He said that the farmers would, at the same time, increase the yield per unit area through the use of affordable high quality inputs.
According to the statement, the centre, in partnership with the Federal and Taraba Governments also launched a youth spray extension programme.
The programme, packaged in partnership with two major Croplife members, Swiss Biostadt, HarvestField Industries Limited and local agro-dealers, was launched in Bantaje town by the Taraba State Governor Danbaba Suntai and would provide professional crop-spraying teams in Taraba for small-holder farmers.
The programme involved 47 youths drawn from eight local government areas where the Cassava + project operates.
Furthermore, a cassava stem distribution programme was also launched, which would provide up to 60 trucks of improved planting materials to Taraba's cassava farmers with subsidised transportation cost.
The cost would be subsidized by the Taraba Government and the Cassava+ Project.
Cassava Plus is a public-private partnership to commercialize cassava production by linking farmers to value-added markets.
The three-year project (2010-2012) is financed by the Schokland Fund, established by the Netherlands’ Directorate-General for International Cooperation (DGIS)
Cassava Plus is being implemented by IFDC and the DADTCO.
The aim of Cassava Plus is to strengthen the market capacities of 164,000 cassava farmers in Nigeria.