The Federal Government of Nigeria has validated new names for 10 improved cassava varieties, including six released varieties and four unreleased ones as part of efforts aimed at branding the root crop for easy identification, cultivation and marketing.
The naming of the new varieties was facilitated by the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA)-led Building an Economically Sustainable, Integrated and Economically Sustainable Cassava Seed System, Phase 2 (BASICS-II) project, and the NextGen Cassava Breeding project (NextGen Cassava).
During the course of the name identification, results on common names of the varieties from focus groups were collated and screened by an independent committee. After the screening, the three most preferred names by the market were subjected to voting by cassava farmers and names with the highest votes were finally picked.
The released varieties and their new names are; IBA961632 (Farmer’s Pride),IBA980581 (Dixon), CR36-5 (Ayaya), IBA070593 (Sunshine) and IBA980505 (Fine Face). TME 419 however, remains unchanged.
The unreleased varieties and their approved new names are; TMS13F116OPOOO4 (Game Changer), TMS13F1343P0022 (Obasanjo-2), NR130124 (Hope) and TMEB693 (Poundable).
Karima Babanginda, director, Federal Department of Agriculture, described the move as a welcome development, stating that it would help farmers identify the varieties easily.
Speaking in the same light, Ukpabi Joseph Ukpabi, executive director, National Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI), expressed optimism at the rebranding, revealing that it would transform the seed system moving forward. He also added that it would help to change the game in the seed system of root and tuber crops in Nigeria, serving as a model for other African countries.
Nigeria, ranked the world’s top producer of cassava by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (UNFAO), produced 291 million tonnes in 2017, estimated to be 20 percent of global production.