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February 04, 2009

USAID to provide high-yield cassava varieties in seven African countries

by Vincent Nwanma

The U.S. Agency for International Development, USAID, is funding a $5.3 million cassava project in sub-Saharan Africa to raise output of the root crop in seven countries. The project aims to increase output by 30 percent and promote the use of cassava, a potato-like vegetable, to counter high food prices in Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Malawi, Mozambique, Sierra Leone and Tanzania, the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture said in a statement on February 4.

USAID will provide high-yielding cassava varieties to 395,000 farmers, according to the Ibadan, Nigeria-based agency. Cassava provides a basic daily source of dietary energy to millions of people in Africa. The roots are processed into a wide variety of products such as chips and flour, or are consumed boiled or raw. In most cassava-growing countries in Africa, the leaves are also consumed as a green vegetable, which provides protein and vitamins A and B.

Bloomberg

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