Nearly eighteen months ago, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) launched the IITA-led High Quality Cassava Flour (HQCF) value chain project which aims at improving the livelihoods and food security of sub-Saharan African farmers. Dr Ndavi Malu, IFAD’s Senior Program Officer, Office of the Associate Vice President, has visited Ibadan to review the activities of the project so far, note challenges, and chart the course for future action.
Dr Malu was received by Dr Ylva Hilbur, DDG Research at IITA. During the 10-day visit, Dr Malu met IITA’s top Management, the IITA Agripreneurs, project implementers, and partners. He also visited various project sites across Oyo, Ogun, and Kwara States to inspect all the production and processing activities that the project initiated with the beneficiaries and also to see firsthand how HQCF has been used to improve the value of confectionery products in Nigeria.
He praised the efforts of the HQCF project team in productively engaging the rural and urban youth through the introduction of improved production technologies,
thereby creating wealth for them and for the country.
He expressed satisfaction about the establishment of innovation platforms whereby resource-poor smallholder farmers were organized as out-grower farmers alongside the local youth to supply fresh cassava to HQCF processing factories.
“I am impressed by the output of the HQCF project,” said Dr Malu during his meeting with Dr Nteranya Sanginga, DG of IITA. He added, “African countries depend on the western world for wheat and this cuts deeply into their foreign reserves…This initiative will help to reduce the importation of food for a country such as Nigeria that is exploring the option of substituting HQCF for wheat.”
Dr Malu also praised the project for carrying out an impressive analysis of the cassava value chain in Nigeria and advised the project to seek and establish more implementing and outreach partners needed to ensure the wide delivery of the project goals.