By Benson Ezugwu
Mr Bassey Elemi, Cross River State Coordinator of Fadama III project says the state is working toward exporting cassava leaves to other countries.
Elemi said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Calabar on Sunday.
He described cassava leaves as highly nutritious vegetable with enough protein content.
“Cassava has now become the king of crops whose leaves, stems and tubers are in high demand, not only here in Nigeria but in many other countries.
“As the largest producer of cassava in the country, Cross River is looking at exporting cassava leaves to other countries,” he said.
The coordinator said that the Fadama III additional financing project currently ongoing in the state was aimed at increasing cassava production by dividing farms into clusters.
He charged cassava farmers in the state project to look beyond what cassava was known for and tap into the cassava value chain.
Elemi said that cassava contains calcium and potassium, which could be processed into animal feeds for goat and chickens, among others as an alternative to reducing cost.
He said that his office had cultivated three varieties of cassava in nine locations across the state to ensure increased yield to meet the rising demand for cassava locally and for export.
He, however, advised the farmers not to relent in their efforts as the state government was committed to empowering cassava farmers through the Fadama III programme.
He said that his office had at various occasions trained and built the capacity of farmers participating in the project.
Elemi also appealed to the state government to fulfill its promise by paying the 2016 counterpart funding for the programme.