The IITA GoSeed Limited has successfully facilitated the virtual renaming ceremony of some important varieties of cassava in Nigeria. The ceremony, which took place from the Ibadan headquarters of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) on the 23rd September 2020, was attended by many cassava breeders and researchers as well as interested public. The naming ceremony became important as some names were either too hard to remember or pronounced, or some were relatively unknown to the general public. “We understand that most of the names of cassava varieties aside TME 419 are not known and easy to remember. We have therefore decided to rename them with marketable names.” IITA GoSeed Limited said. The virtual renaming ceremony of the cassava varieties was also meant to engage with the cassava breeders and every stakeholder.
IITA GoSeed was established in 2016 as a unit of the IITA Business Incubation Platform (BIP) and registered as a Limited Liability Company. It is domiciled at the headquarters of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria.
IITA GoSeed is responsible for the commercial promotion of the early generation seeds of the improved crop varieties generated by IITA and other CGIAR Centres across the globe. Their highest interests are in banana, cassava, cowpea (beans), maize, plantain, rice, soybean and yam.
They produce and market high quality Breeder and Foundation Seed of these crop varieties to seed producers in Nigeria’s seed market system as well as across Africa at prices that are relatively affordable.
Collaborating with seed experts, seed producers and other stakeholders across the various value chains, IITA GoSeed ensures the downstream movement of seeds to farmers in order to boost their productivity, income and livelihoods.
The branded types include 6 released varieties and 4 yet-to be-released varieties. The released varieties and their new names are as follows: IBA961632 (Farmer’s Pride), IBA980581 (Dixon), CR36-5 (Ayaya), IBA070593 (Sunshine), and IBA980505 (Fine face). TME 419, a variety already popular among farmers, remained unchanged as TME419. The yet-to-be-released (pre-release) varieties and their new names are TMS13F1160P0004 (Game Changer), TMS13F1343P0022 (Obasanjo-2), NR130124 (Hope) and TMEB693 (Poundable).
All the varieties named are high yielding, Cassava Mosaic Disease-resistant (CMD-resistant) and are in high demand by farmers.
The exercise was facilitated by the Building an Economically Sustainable, Integrated and Economically Sustainable Cassava Seed System, Phase 2 (BASICS-II), a movement spearheaded by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and the NextGen Cassava Breeding project (NextGen Cassava).
BASICS-II Project Manager, Professor Lateef Sanni, said the exercise will enhance the cassava stems promotion activities of the project, as farmers would be able to identify and relate better with the new names, especially as the farmers themselves joined and participated in the naming process.
According to the Project Manager for NextGen Cassava Project, Professor Chiedozie Egesi, code names are hard to remember or confusing, and can lead to loss of identity of a variety or mixtures in farms.
“Substituting the official names of the varieties with simpler or more relatable brand names will make farmers more familiar and closer to the varieties. From the BASICS-II project, two early generation seed companies, IITA GoSeed and Umudike Seeds, have been set up to ensure the production and commercialization of breeders and foundation seeds in a sustainable manner to ensure constant access to quality planting material of improved varieties,” he explained.
The Director, Federal Department of Agriculture, Mrs Karima Babanginda, who moved for the adoption of the names on behalf of the government of Nigeria, said: “Our farmers can now be able to identify the different cassava varieties.” Adding that it is a ‘welcome development’.
The news blog affiliated with IITA, http://www.cassavamatters.org, reported that “results on common names of the varieties from focus groups were collated and screened by an independent committee. The best three names that resonate with the market were subjected to voting by cassava farmers and names with the highest votes were finally picked.
“In his welcome address, the Executive Director, National Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI) Umudike, Prof. Ukpabi Joseph Ukpabi expressed optimism that the naming of varieties using common names would continue, stressing that “it will also help to change the game in the seed system of root and tuber crops in Nigeria and also serve as a model for other African countries.
“Re-echoing the significance of the event, IITA Deputy Director General (Partnerships for Delivery), Dr Kenton Dashiell noted that the re-naming of the varieties was imperative.
“It will help the cassava sector in a big way,” Dr Dashiell added.
“The brand names mark a departure from codes that are usually handed to farmers by researchers and often difficult to memorize.”
The TME-419 remains as previously called, because it has attained superior attention from most farmers and the digits in the code are simple to memorize. It is described as high yielding, churning out as much as 36 tons per hectare. An all-in-one or all-rounder variety with high quality flour, starch, garri, and fresh consumption. This variety has very high dry matter of 40%. In appearance, it grows perfectly erect and straight, great feature for mechanisation.
The CR36-5 was renamed Ayaya. It is erect and has high and stable dry matter. It is described as excellent for starch and flour. Its petiole appear purple.
TMS 961632 is renamed Farmer’s Pride. Excellent for mechanisation, it is good for starch and flour production. With a high and stable dry matter of 39%, it is also high-yield, raking in as much as 35 tons per hectare.
Dixon (previously TMS-980581) is equally high yielding (35 tons/hectare) and good for garri production. Dixon is drought-tolerant, grows erect and its petiole is red in appearance.
TMS-980505 is befittingly renamed Fine Face. Because it is beautifully umbrella-shaped and helps to frustrate weeds. Its yield is high (34 tons/hectare) and excellent for garri production.
There is a variety perfectly fit for yellow garri and other bio-fortified food products. It is the Sunshine variety (previously TMS-070593). It is the best bio- fortified variety yet, having high provitamin A. This breed has good dry matter content and its tubers are yellowish.
Sources: IITA GoSeed Limited; http://www.cassavamatters.org