By Peter Okolie
Mgbakwu (Anambra) – Gov. Willie Obiano of Anambra says his administration will increase cassava output and processing by 2018.
The governor said this on Tuesday during the inauguration of an ultra-modern Cassava Processing Centre and Farmers’ Business Forum at Anambra State Polytechnic (ANSPOLY) in Mgbakwu.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the processing centre is a joint project executed by the institution and Harvest Plus, an organisation that improves nutrition and public health via production of bio-fortified food crops.
Obiano said that the new strategy for improved cassava production and processing would be in full operation by 2018, adding that “Anambra Garri’’ would soon saturate the markets.
The governor, who was represented by the Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr Afam Mbanefo, said that the state was already a leading producer rice and exporter of vegetables.
Obiano, who commended Harvest Plus for donating the machines for the project, said that prototypes of the machines would be installed in communities across the state during his second term in office.
In his remark, Dr Paul Iluno, the Country Director of Harvest Plus, said that the company was partnering with the state to develop efficient farm managers, who would assist farmers in their efforts to achieve good yields.
Iluno said that the machines of the processing centre had the capacity to process five tonnes of fresh cassava tubers of cassava or one tonne of garri per day.
The Commissioner for Education, Prof. Kate Omenugha, urged cassava farmers to take due advantage of the processing machines to boost their production.
The Acting Rector of ANSPOLY, Mrs Nneka Mefor, commended Obiano for upgrading the institution from a college of agriculture to a polytechnic.
She said that the processing centre would expand the knowledge of students, lecturers and farmers in practical aspects of agriculture. (NAN)