The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Nigeria has partnered with the National Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI) to release five new cassava varieties – Game Changer, Obasanja-2, Hope, Baba-70 and Poundable. These varieties were developed under the NextGen Cassava Breeding Project.
According to the IITA and NRCRI, the ‘Game Changer’ and ‘Obasanja-2’ are to be used for industrial purposes because of their high stable starch and dry matter yields. The ‘Hope’ and ‘Baba-70’ varieties were generated for producing fresh root cassava yields that can give quality garri and fufu. Lastly, the ‘Poundable’ variety, which has low cyanogenic content, is poundable for fresh markets, and its high mealiness like that of yam.
Funded by the Gates Foundation and the United Kingdom’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCOD), the varieties were released to address three important product profiles for West Africa – cassava refined for garri or fufu, fresh markets, and for industrial purposes.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Muhammad Sabo Nanono, expressed the importance of good crop varieties for the establishment of a solid value chain in Nigeria.
The IITA is a not-for-profit organization that generates agricultural innovations to meet Africa’s most pressing needs in fighting hunger, malnutrition, and poverty by working with various partners across the region, while, the NRCRI is set up to research into the genetic improvement, production, processing, storage utilization and socio-economies of root and tuber crops in order to achieve National food security, income generation, gainful employment and rapid industrial development.