GCP21 Wants Africa to Double Cassava Production to Prevent Food Crisis by 2050
Global Cassava Partnership for the 21st Century, GCP21 Director, Dr. Claude Fauquet has advised African farmers to double the continent’s cassava production in order to avert major food crisis by 2050.
Fauquet described the low root yields of cassava in Africa as improper and urged member nations to adequately invest in the crop to change the current yield per hectare, maintaining that a do-nothing approach would hurt Africa, as it would have to contend with more people to feed, and changes in climate that would become more unpredictable.
He stated this at a world press conference held in Lagos said though Africa accounts for 55 per cent of global cassava root production, its yield per hectare is the lowest in the world with about 10 tons per hectare as opposed to Asia where average yield is 21 tons per hectare—or double the yield in Africa.
Fauquet stressed that to reverse the current trajectory would request for deliberate actions, including greater investment in research and innovation, provisions of a favourable policy framework, accessibility of loans to farmers at single digit rates, and mechanisation across the value chain.
According to him, Africa needs to scale out proven technologies, including the recommendations on weed control being developed by the Cassava Weed Management Project, improved cassava varieties, and best-bet agronomic practices such as appropriate fertilizer application.
“If we do these, then to double cassava yield will not be a dream but a possibility,” he said.
Fauquet said while technologies are available to transform cassava, not many policy makers were aware of such technologies, adding that the forthcoming Global Conference on Cassava in Cotonou, Republic of Benin, scheduled for June 11-15, 2018 with the theme “Cassava Transformation in Africa” was a unique opportunity that would create an environment for exchange of technical, scientific, agricultural, industrial and economic information about cassava among strategic stakeholders like scientists, farmers, processors, end-users, researchers, the private sector, and donor agencies.