Building an Economically Sustainable, Integrated Seed System for Cassava in Nigeria is a four-year program aimed at sustainably improving farmers’ access to high quality and affordable cassava planting materials through the development and promotion of commercial models for seed provision.
The program is coordinated by the CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers, and Bananas (RTB) and implemented by partners including the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), the Nigerian National Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI), the International Potato Center (CIP), Catholic Relief Services (CRS), Fera Science Ltd, Context Global Development (CGD), the Nigerian National Agricultural Seed Council (NASC) and others.
The goal of the initiative is to develop a commercial model for cassava seed systems in Nigeria that enables smallholder farmers to have sustainable access to vigorous and healthy planting material of farmer and industry-preferred varieties of superior quality that enhance farm-level productivity.
The program will build the capacity of Nigerian institutions and other stakeholders, including both men and women cassava farmers, processors and commercial seed producers to develop and put in to place testing, field inspection, and certification system for cassava seed.
This will in turn help fast-track improved breeders’ cassava varieties to farmers and ensure that good quality, disease-free planting materials are in use throughout the industry to improve productivity and incomes for farmers and their families.
Cassava is the most important food crop for Nigeria, where it has high poverty-reduction potential because of its low production cost, widespread cultivation, and job creation capacity – especially for women and rural youth. However, its income raising potential is stifled by the absence of an economically sustainable, integrated cassava seed system that would enable farmers to access affordable, high performing cassava seed varieties.
Our program is anchored on a high-quality cassava flour processor, which possesses the incentive, means, and market power to spur farmer adoption of high-quality cassava planting materials. Processors and farmers both stand to benefit from the former’s engagement in seed selection, multiplication, and commercialization.
As a part of the program, Context Global Development is leading the establishment of a replicable commercial stem business model, termed the Processor Led Model (PLM). The PLM aims to address systemic issues in the cassava seed system and increase farm-level returns, by encouraging the backward integration of industrial processors, which possess the incentive and market power to spur the development of an improved seed system.
Farmers benefit through access to affordable, high-quality, inputs, and the guarantee that they can offload their cassava harvest to the processor.
Processors benefit from increased control over the variety and quality of cassava they plant and process, allowing them to achieve higher unit productivity through the use of higher-yielding varieties with higher dry matter content.