Dr. Claude Fauquet, Director of the Global Cassava Partnership for the 21st Century (GCP21) during a press conference hosted by Veronique Brumeaux, the French Ambassador to the Republic of Benin called on policy makers, donors and international community to support all efforts that will bring about transformation of cassava in Africa.
Ahead of the international conference on cassava, food security in the developing world is now dependent on this crop due to a population of over 600 million people. After maize, wheat and rice, it has also become the fourth most important crop.
Growers of the crop have been in abject poverty because the productivity has remained low despite the key food security role it is playing in Africa.
Dr, Fauquet said, “When compared to Asia, cassava productivity in that continent is more than 21 tons per ha—a situation that gives Asia competitive advantage in the crop’s global trade. Addressing the gap demands more funding for research and development (R&D) from all stakeholders, if truly the world wants to help farmers towards ending hunger and poverty in Africa.”
“The conference scheduled for June 11-15, 2018 in Cotonou, Benin Republic with the theme: ‘Cassava Transformation in Africa’ is one of the ways the organisation is contributing towards the transformation of the root crop”, Fauquet said.
Participation of all stakeholders have therefore been invited, manifesting a unique opportunity to have latest innovations and discoveries in the sector be seen and accessed would be made available at the conference for donors, investors, and policy makers.
Veronique Brumeaux said “It was timely and would go a long way to address the constraints of cassava production, while at the same time proffering opportunities for investors and farmers alike to harness new innovations from the research community.”