By Oluwabukola Akanni
The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), says new seed production techniques could be a major source of wealth and livelihood for women.
Prof. Lateef Sanni, BASICS-II Project Manager, IITA, stated this at a three-day Oyo State Women Entrepreneurship Summit, tagged; “Women Rise Up”, in Ibadan.
Sanni said that with seed production, women could earn money without necessarily owning a farm or going to one.
“Women can make seed production and cultivation of seeds an economic opportunity.
“For example, with the high yielding cassava seed varieties, if you invest between N150,000 to N200,000 per hectare, you need about 20 tons of the seed per hectare, it is possible to make up to N800,000 from your investment,” he said.
According to him, IITA is willing to train the women, help them to produce, market and give them access to quality seeds.
He further said IITA was seeking to promote the cultivation of improved seed varieties, to address growing demand, and for economically sustainable agriculture.
“At the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), we are trying to encourage quality seed production.
“How we are planting in the country at present is not sustainable, sustainable seed production has become imperative to meet the demand for certified seed varieties; and this is an economic opportunity for our women.
“From new seed production techniques, we can get new clones of cassava varieties, yam, maize and soybeans. These seeds are yielding varieties and also disease-free.
“This is how we can increase our productivity, our productivity for maize is currently revolving around two to three tons per hectare, while cassava keeps on moving around eight to 11 tons per hectare.
“Whereas with new varieties, you can have up to 20 to 30 tons per hectare for cassava; and maize from five to 15 tons per hectare,” he said.
Princess Aderonke Adedoja, convener of the summit, said that if women were financially self-sufficient, they would not only improve their household incomes, but also contribute meaningfully to the country’s economic growth. (NAN)