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The formal launch of the Cassava Adding Value for Africa Phase II (CAVA II) Project was held on Tuesday 22 April, 2014 at the Lagos Airport Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos.
The Vice-chancellor, Professor Olusola Oyewole, in his welcome address said, he is happy and proud and wants to assure the Bill and Melinda Gate Foundation that their evaluation of FUNAAB’s potential to coordinate and manage this project is not a fluke, but rather a confirmation of the hard work of our founding fathers and the tradition of excellence that is the norm at FUNNAB, and promise not to fail them.
Furthermore, Prof. Oyewole said, FUNAAB’s work in the cassava sector has a history almost as old as the establishment of the University. FUNAAB has worked in partnership with several world leading institutions, including the Natural Research Institute (NRI) of the University of Greenwich, United Kingdom and International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan for their contribution to the capacity of FUNAAB to carry out excellent research and manage multi-national and multi-disciplinary projects and manage multi-national and multi-disciplinary projects.
In his speech at the occasion, Dr Akinwumi Adesina the Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development represented by his Special Assistant, Mrs. Toyin Adetunji said, the Federal Government of Nigeria felicitate with FUNAAB on this major achievement and worthy contribution to the nation’s Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) . She said the Federal Government’s ATA is aimed at restoring the lost glory of agriculture as a means of diversifying the country’s economic base.
She further said that the Cassava Transformation Agenda is developed with a view to commercialize the cassava industry in five different value chains; which are High Quality Cassava Flour (HQCF), Cassava Chips, Cassava Starch, and Ethanol/Glucose Syrup. The Cassava Transformation Agenda is one of the major commodity focused intervention under the Federal Government agricultural Transformation Agenda.
Nigeria is the largest producer of cassava in the world with annual production of 40 million metric tonnes, representing 19% of the total world production; Nigeria is leading countries like Brazil, Thailand and Indonesia. One of the major value chains in the Cassava Transformation Agenda is the High Quality value chain to reduce the annual import of wheat.
Furthermore, she said the launching of CAVA II is a significant milestone in the development of the cassava industry in Africa and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has contributed immensely to socio-economic growth in Africa CAVA II will therefore go a long way in supporting the Federal Government to develop the cassava industry in Nigeria.
Finally, she congratulated the executors of CAVA II in Nigeria, especially the Country Manager Prof. Lateef Sanni and his team and also congratulated the Director of CAVA II Dr. Kolawole Adebayo and his team and wish them successful implementation of the project.