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Cassava disease threatens garri supply

There is fear of imminent scarcity of local staple food, garri, following an outbreak of a destructive cassava mosaic disease.

nformation made available by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Ibadan has it that the mosaic disease which almost wiped out cassava plants in Nigeria in the early 1970s, has resurfaced again in a more vicious form.

Experts from the IITA warned that the more virulent strain of the dangerous cassava disease could wipe out a huge number of cassava farms in West Africa, even as the institution is battling to find an antidote to the pest.

An official of the agricultural research institute, James Agba, told AfricaNews, an online publication that the disease was threatening to wipe out the crop in Nigeria, Cameroun, Ghana and Togo.

”A diagnostic survey by our experts has detected the new strain of the disease in West Africa. The disease combines features of strains earlier discovered in West Africa and East Africa,” he said.

According to a statement by the IITA, ”The disease presents a tiny, black mosaic dots on the leaves and produces powdery substances on the stems of the cassava plant. It leaves affected plants stunted and depresses their yield by more than 80 percent.”

Nigeria is currently the world leading producer of cassava. This outbreak has created an emergency response from agricultural experts in the country. These experts are toiling to ensure that the disease is checked and put under control.

”It might interest you to know that Nigeria earns lots of foreign exchange from cassava export, so we are at risk of running a big foreign exchange shortage if the disease continues to destroy the crop” said Adebisi Adurangba, an expert in agronomy.

”There is the need to show some concern over the cassava disease because cassava is a popular delicacy in Nigeria and most African countries. It provides multiple delicacy option for almost every household and the by-product can be converted to starch. It is very important in Africa food chain, so it has to be preserved and protected from the destructive disease,” Adurangba added.

Already the cost of garri is rising in the market as a four-litre paint plastic bucket of garri that sold for between N220 and N250 now sells for about N350.

The cassava plant, indigenous to South America, was introduced to West Africa during the slave trade in the 18th and 19th centuries. Its short maturity period of six months and ability to grow in both dry and rainy seasons quickly made it a staple crop.

Similarly, as the cropping season draws near, resource-poor farmers in northern Nigeria have put forward a demand for more improved seed varieties from scientists working on the Sudan Savannah task force project.

The project comprises a team of IITA researchers working on the Kano-Katsina-Maradi (KKM) Pilot initiative which aims to carry out integrated agricultural research-for-development to address the several constraints facing farmers in the region.

The leader of Aminchi Multipurpose Group at Tabbani village, Musawa LGA, Katsina State, Hajiya Murja Abass, made the demand on behalf of the farmers during the 2009 stakeholders‘ mobilisation exercise which also witnessed the launching of innovation platforms in Katsina State in the presence of the Chairman of Safana LGA, Alhaji Abdulkadir Zakka, and Chairman of Musawa LGA, Dr. Aliyu Musawa.

Abass, a seed producer in the 2008 cropping exercise, pleaded that more improved seeds should be provided by the taskforce in order to meet up with demand from farmers.

”Farmers love the seeds because of the good results they got last year. The improved seeds yield thrice the normal harvest they get using the same hectare of land and the same quantity of seeds,” she said.

Northern Nigeria is home to grain crop such as cowpea, soybeans, groundnut, sorghum, millet and maize among others but constraints such as lack of improved seed varieties, declining soil fertility and poor marketing have limited grain production.

The KKM pilot scheme, which is funded by the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), through its recently inaugurated innovation platforms aims to tackle the problems in a holistic manner.

Apart from the IITA, partners in the project include the Katsina State ADP; Kano State ADP; Institute of Agricultural Research, Zaria; National Agricultural Extension Research and Liaison Services; National Animal Production Research Institute; IRNS; two LGAs; and input and output dealers.

The Sudan Savannah taskforce leader, Dr. Alpha Kamara, said the project would help in finding solutions to the numerous constraints faced by the farmers.

”We would also want the local government authorities to fully support the innovation platforms in the implementation of the project activities,” Kamara, who is also an IITA agronomist, said.

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My second presentation

Bali is true heaven of tourism. At least that existing fact and which I feel as part of Bali society which live and grow in Bali island. There are a lot of beautiful exotic place in this island. One of them is Tanah Lot. As tourism object, Tanah Lot is true famous. It’s called as icon of Bali Tourism, Tanah Lot is so enthused by all tourist, foreign or Domestic tourist.

Tanah Lot is True with fascination. This tourist object integrate consist of sunset moment that very beautiful with spiritual tourism marked by tanah lot temple.
I got the invitation from my client and this is the second time I have a chance to visit Bali presenting my cassava product for biosolar and place that interesting in Tanah lot located in tabanan Regency.

In order to enjoy all of interest places surrounding Tanah lot tourism object, you must come early and do not forget bring your sun glasses, before I forget if you need to buy online for sunglasses product with competitive price, or you might need High-indexed Prescription Eyeglasses On Sale since the UV there is very strong I recommended you to buy one.
In the evening you can enjoy sunset in the west part. Now, it’s time to leave from the beach (Tanah lot) But wait, have your hand bring the souvenir! Don’t worry because of that. In there, available art market that available some of crafts and Bali special food. Well I really enjoying my presentation.

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Cassava in the Summit spotlight

CASSAVA in a traditional Trini oil down will be one of the dishes served at the main banquet for leaders and delegates at the Fifth Summit of the Americas which will be taking place in Port-of-Spain from Friday.

For those who might not be familiar with this root vegetable, we decided to highlight cassava, as well as some of the tasty dishes in which it is the main ingredient.

Grown as a shrub in Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, and South America, cassava is harvested for its root and leaves. High in starch, it is a plant that contains low levels of protein in the root and high levels in the green leaves. This plant is a key crop in many areas where other crops cannot grow as easily, making it valued as a food and a crop to market to local food markets, or ethnic food markets worldwide as a fresh or frozen vegetable.

Depending on the variety grown, this root can be bitter or sweet in flavour and should always be washed, peeled and cooked to remove poisonous substances contained in the root that can attack enzymes within human digestive systems, causing discomfort, illness, and possibly death. If not processed properly (it should be dried, soaked in a water solution, thoroughly washed, and cooked) a poisonous cyanide toxin that causes harm to human digestive systems cannot be effectively removed from the crop. However, since the varieties vary and since this tuber may cause different levels of distress if consumed raw, it is always best to be safe and cook the vegetable before eating.

As a food high in carbohydrates, containing almost 140 calories in an average sized tuber, this vegetable is often prepared and served much like a potato as a side dish or added as an ingredient in soups and stews. The texture is very absorbent, so the flesh of the root takes on the flavour of any other ingredients combined with it when baked, boiled, fried, or sauteed. The root contains significantly more fiber content and only slightly more potassium than a potato.

In addition to the root, the plant leaves are also consumed as they are cooked and served as a vegetable green. When harvested, the root has a rough brown outer skin that covers a white crisp textured flesh. As a fresh root, it will often be coated with editable wax in an attempt to store it for longer periods of time. After being harvested, it will not last long. Fresh roots can be stored in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days, but store slightly longer (3 to 4 days) when kept out of the refrigerator in a cool dry area. The flesh freezes well and can be kept for several months frozen if peeled, cut into chunks and wrapped in an airtight wrapping.

Commonly used to make tapioca, tapioca flour, Cassava flour, pancakes, bammy bread, cassava flat bread, and snack chips, this root may also be referred to as Yuca Root, Manioc, Manihot, Mandioca, and Eddoes. At times, it is mistakenly referred to as Yucca, which is a non-edible plant from the Agave plant family.

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The Goshen Cassava processing factory

Member of Parliament (MP) for North East St. Elizabeth Kern Spencer wants the Government to re-open the Goshen Cassava processing factory in the constituency.

According to Mr. Spencer, this would be a sure indicator that Government is serious about Cassava cultivation.

The MP says a number of farmers have gone into production with an expectation of proper support when their crop comes in.

He said farmers in the communities of Goshen and Pepper have already established a cassava farming group.

Mr. Spencer said the factory is needed to provide an adequate outlet for the farmers.

"I'm calling on the Government to retool the factory as the land space is ideal and the factory space is already there. All the Government needs to do is pull the relevant stakeholders together to create the partnership required to retool and re-establish that factory," Mr. Spencer said.

In the mid to late 1970's, the Goshen Cassava factory produced a wide range of by-products from cassava processing, including flour and bammies.

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Yummy and delicious

Candy, chocolate, sweet food those are kid and adult like to taste especially chocolate. Before become a delicious chocolate, we never realize that delicious chocolate that we consume is from cocoa bean. Cocoa beans are seeds from the pods of cocoa trees, a tropical plant that thrives only in hot, rainy climates, and Indonesia is also country that has many of cocoa bean plantations.

When we talked about candy please always remember Ghirardelli chocolate not only made from chocolate it’s also made from various ingredients, I have my own experiment about the sweet food I made cassava mix with chocolate, first I feel not confidence actually this is traditional food from my village and many people can made it. But the different is I made it and mix with chocolate, we can serve with hot tea and suggested time in afternoon.

My friend always wants to have this chocolate cassava. Its funny first I thought nobody would not like this, and then I realize that this is the yummy food that I ever taste, of course we can not compare it with branded food from Ghirardelli chocolate so many various of chocolate , candy and all the sweet food, you name it just need to visit then you will never forget it.

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Cassava farmers now want loans from govt

Cassava farmers have urged the government to give them loans for purchasing tractors as a way to improve production and thereby eradicate poverty in rural areas.

This was said in a two-day meeting on Cassava Adding Value for Africa project organised by the Tanzania Food and Nutrition Centre.

They said cassava farmers in the country were currently using the hand hoe as their main production equipment.

The Chairperson of Cassava Saccos from Mkuranga Anna Mwambuzi said most farmers complained about the old technology and were looking for assistance from the government.

She said previously, cassava farmers were facing market problems, but the government through the TFNC had solved the problem.

``I hope through this strategic meeting all farmers from various areas will raise their concern and at the end of this all will come up with one answer to ensure that all stakeholders benefit from the crop,`` she said.

Speaking at the opening remarks the Managing Director of Tanzania Food and Nutrition Centre, Godwin Ndossi, said the project aimed to boost incomes of small-scale farmers by linking them to new markets.

He said the project would complement other cassava initiatives in the country by focusing only on high quality cassava flour, which seemed to be a more tradable commodity.

According to the report by Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on Processing and Utilization of Cassava Livestock feed in the country, cassava production trends had been increasing by 10,000 hectares every year since 1967 with increased yields of 50, 000 tonnes a year.

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Cassava processing factory

UGHELLI—AS part of effort to diversify the economy of the Isoko South local government council, Delta State, a cassava processing factory worth at least N170 million was on Tuesday flagged off at Uzere in the local government area.

Flagging off the cassava processing factory, chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in the state, Mr. Peter Nwaoboshi said the project was part of effort to create job opportunity and wealth for the people of the area, adding that the project, when it eventually takes off, would also help to fight against food insecurity in the state.

While urging Deltans to continue to support the PDP- led government both at the state and local government level as away of reciprocating the good programmes of government, he said the party was prepared to fulfill its campaign promises to the electorates. He commended the Isoko South local government council chairman, Chief Askia Ogieh for embarking on the project, adding that as a third tier of government, local government councils across the country should thrive to embark on projects that would positively transform the socio-economic lives of the people of their area.

Earlier in his address, chairman of the local government council, Chief Askia Ogieh said the decision to embark on the project was born out of the need to diversify from crude oil as the economic mainstay of the country and stressed that the concept of the factory was in line with the three-point agenda of the state government.

Ogieh said when put to full capacity use, the factory would alleviate the sufferings of cassava farmers and create employment for the rural dwellers, pointing out that the factory would help also to redirect the energy of the youths in the area to more productive ventures and said the raw materials of the factory would be sourced from the local farmers.

He said: “This factory will be able to harness the cassava tubers production from various communities within the local government area through an expanded capacity building vis-a –vis mopping the glut to enhance production of diverse cassava products which hitherto was restricted to garri and local starch production into the production of industrial starch and related items.

“The production capacity of the factory will be sustained by regular supply of high breed cassava stems and also from the local government cassava demonstration farm”. While saying that the demonstration farm was a pet project of his administration, he said 1,200 bundles of improved cassava stem and farm implements have already been distributed to 600 local farmers in the council area.

Also speaking, the consultant, Engr Adolphus Ojobo said the factory upon completion, would process 25,000 tons of cassava per day and said over 60 persons would be needed to work in the factory as staff. According to him, the factory has a multiplier effect on the area.

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