Agricultural institute launches a phone device, ‘Nuru’ to fight cassava diseases

TANZANIA – The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in collaboration with the Pennsylvania State University of the United States has launched a new tool called Nuru to fight cassava diseases using an artificially intelligent machine, according to the Citizen. The device comes in time when the cassava production in Africa is said to have reduced by 50% primarily as a result of effects of viral diseases such as Cassava Mosaic and Cassava Brown Streak. According to an official from the institute, the new tool can accurately recognise leaves damaged…

Read More

Tanzania signs deal with Chinese firm to construct US$10m cassava processing factory

TANZANIA – Tanzania has signed an agreement with a Chinese firm, Kanton Investment Company to construct a new cassava processing factory, estimated to cost US$10 million in one of the eight districts of Tanga region, Handeni. The deal, signed by Handeni district council was facilitated by the Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC) mandated to promote, co-ordinate and facilitate investment into Tanzania. Its other functions include collecting, collating, analysing and disseminating information about investment opportunities and sources of investment capital, and advise investors upon request on the availability, choice or suitability of…

Read More

Ghana opens a new flour milling factory in West Coast Region

GHANA – Ghana has established a new plant, Aspuna Flour Mill and Processing Factory in Duwasu, Kombo, West Coast region that will process cassava into flour and starch, reported a Ghana Newspaper, Foroyaa. While the cassava flour produced will be sold in the local market and surplus exported, the starch will be exported to attract more customers outside Ghana. According to the country Director of the Company Mr. Amadou Jah, it cost US$423,710 to outfit the mill, that is installation and processing cassava into flour and starch. The factory is…

Read More

AfDB to invest US$120 million to boost cassava and rice production

NIGERIA – The African Development Bank Group has revealed plans to invest US$120 million over the next two to three years in the production and transformation of cassava among other important commodities. As part of a strategy to achieve agricultural diversity, the funding will also boost production of maize, sorghum/millet, wheat, livestock, aquaculture, high iron beans and orange fleshed sweet potatoes. The announcement was made by the Director for agriculture at AfDB, Dr Martin Fregene at the fourth international conference on cassava organised by the Global Cassava Partnerships for the…

Read More

Nigeria considers levies on imported starch to enhance local production

NIGERIA – The Federal Government of Nigeria is considering levies on imported starch sweeteners, flour and ethanol to encourage local production and reduce its food import bill on those products estimated at US$654 million. The government also aims to enhance cassava processing, the raw material for the products while attracting investments in that area. Although Nigeria is considered the world largest producer of cassava, the Guardian Nigeria reported it still imports most of its industrial starch, a by-product of cassava. Once the policy is implemented, the government seeks to save…

Read More

Kenya inching closer to disease-free GMO cassava

KENYA – Cassava farmers are about five years away from accessing disease-resistant genetically modified varieties, currently being tested in specific locations around the country. Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation (KALRO) scientists are developing a transgenic variety that is resistant to the Cassava Mosaic Virus and the Cassava Brown Streak Disease the two diseases that have in recent years destroyed the crop causing farmers massive losses and threatening food security in rural Kenya. “Currently, we have close to 200,000 hectares under cassava in Kenya, most of which (60%) is in…

Read More

Africa must re-adopt its orphan crops as times change

AFRICA – A large portion of Africa’s people relies on several indigenous plant species for subsistence. These plants are often primary food sources for people and animals and are also used for other non-food purposes. Most are farmed as food crops and are preferred by indigenous people and farmers. They are often hardy and tolerant, which means that they can be expected to survive better under varying climatic conditions. But their agricultural importance is undervalued and they often play second fiddle to more commercial crops. Referred to as “Orphan Crops” –…

Read More

Local sourcing initiative impacts over 175,000 lives – Guinness Ghana

GHANA – Guinness Ghana Breweries Limited (GGBL) has held a stakeholder’s workshop to showcase and assess the socio-economic impact of their Local Raw Material (LRM) sourcing on the Ghanaian economy. A statement issued in Accra and copied to the Ghana News Agency said the workshop was held bi-annually to review the impact of the company’s LRM agenda on government and the communities in which GGBL operates. Professor Paul Sarfo-Mensah, Senior Research Fellow at the Bureau of Integrated Rural Development of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) said…

Read More