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May 27, 2024
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“Crucial Support Needed to Ensure Sustainable, Profitable  Participation of Smallholder Farmers in Cassava Value Chain”  – Expert

The Managing Director of Turbham Farms, Dr. Etukudo Ime, has said crucial support is needed to ensure smallholder farmers’ participation in the cassava value chain is sustainable and profitable.

Ime, while speaking with AgroNigeria on Wednesday, highlighted the pivotal role of smallholder farmers in the industry’s success.

He said through innovative initiatives, Turbham Farms provides crucial support to these farmers, ensuring their participation in the value chain is sustainable and profitable.

However, the company’s commitment to smallholder farmers is evident through various programs. 

“Planting as a Service (PAAS) offers farmers a comprehensive package, including seeds, quality inputs, and expert guidance, to boost yields and sustainability. Additionally, capacity-building initiatives, facilitated by the Turbham Foundation, equip farmers with modern farming techniques and financial literacy, empowering them to make informed decisions and improve productivity.

Off taking agreements guarantee market access and price stability for farmers, providing economic security and encouraging further investment in their farms. Furthermore, technology adoption, such as weather forecasting apps and digital market platforms, enhances efficiency and productivity, ensuring farmers have access to 21st-century tools.”

“Despite Turbham Farms’ efforts, the company faces significant challenges in cassava cultivation. Pests and diseases threaten crops, necessitating the use of pest-resistant strains and eco-friendly pesticides. Soil health and fertility are also paramount concerns, addressed through crop rotation, organic compost application, and manure usage.

“Climate variability poses another hurdle, with drought-resistant cassava varieties and efficient irrigation systems employed to mitigate its effects. Insecurity, particularly conflicts with herdsmen, remains a pressing issue, prompting Turbham Farms to implement security measures such as fencing and regular patrols to ensure a safe farming environment.”

Speaking further, Dr. Ime acknowledges the impact of extreme weather events, such as delayed rainfall and water scarcity, exacerbated by climate change. Turbham Farms has responded by adopting climate-smart agricultural practices, including drought-resistant varieties, water-saving irrigation, and conservation agriculture, to sustain productivity despite challenges.

Access to agricultural inputs, including fertilizers and agrochemicals, presents notable challenges due to rising prices. Turbham Farms navigates this issue by exploring locally sourced alternatives and maintaining access to quality seeds through partnerships with organizations like the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA).

Innovative cost-cutting strategies, such as efficient input management, organic alternatives, and precision technology, have yielded promising results, reducing production costs while promoting sustainability.

As Turbham Farms continues its mission to empower smallholder farmers and overcome challenges in Nigeria’s cassava industry, Dr. Ime remains optimistic about the future, emphasizing the company’s unwavering commitment to driving economic growth, ensuring food security, and fostering agricultural sustainability.

Meanwhile, Turbham Farms, a leading player in Nigeria’s agricultural sector, is dedicated to supporting smallholder farmers to navigate challenges in the cassava industry.

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