The Federal Government has commenced training for 120 cassava farmers from Ondo, Edo and Ekiti states in the management and control of pests and diseases, particularly whiteflies on cassava.
The government said that the whiteflies had infected cassava plants with cassava mosaic disease, leading to a consistent reduction in output in some cassava-producing states in the country.
Speaking with journalists on Tuesday at the venue of the workshop, the Federal College of Agriculture, Akure, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Mohammad Abubakar stated that the government was doing everything possible to eradicate the whiteflies, hence the need for capacity building.
Represented by the Ondo State Coordinator, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr Tony Otunoye, the participants were drawn from Edo, Ekiti and Ondo States following the letters of complaints received from the state.
According to him, the training became necessary to sensitise farmers and other stakeholders along the cassava value chain from the three states through the workshop to spread the basic concept of agricultural best practices on whitefly and disease control in cassava production.
He said, “Whitefly is an old scourge but cassava farmers are now overlooking it, but the disease is coming much stronger. The cassava varieties that we released then are loosing vigour, so the Ondo State programme manager of Agriculture Development Programme and his team alerted the Federal Government and we have to swing into action.”