IITA is an award-winning, research-for-development (R4D) organization, providing solutions to hunger, poverty, and the degradation of natural resources in Africa. Since 1967, IITA has worked with international and national partners to improve livelihoods, enhance food and nutrition security, increase employment, and preserve natural resource integrity. IITA’s main priority is ensuring a food secure future for sub-Saharan Africa. IITA research focuses on key research themes that address staple food crops, including banana and plantain, cassava, cowpea, maize, soybean, yam.
Crop quality monitoring solutions and impact on food security – Nigeria
Cassava, a tropical root crop that provides staple food for about 800 million people globally, is of huge economic importance to developing economies in sub-Saharan Africa. While growing worldwide demand for gluten- free flour and biofuel is transforming both the profile and profitability of the humble cassava, small and medium- holders (about 90% of cassava farmers), are effectively locked out of this high-value marketplace. The most significant barrier facing these farmers is that the valuation of the harvest is based on quality standards that they have no viable means to determine individually. This increases the risk of venturing to supply to high-value market hubs, where poor valuations could translate to huge losses. Hence, they tend to limit their production to the dictates of the established local demand, which offer much lower margins, at minimal risk
IITA in collaboration with UCL and RINI will develop a low-cost, IOT-enabled test instrument that can measure the quality of root crops in the field. Coupled with the artificial intelligence (AI) driven, cloud- based ecosystem the farmers and their produce will be directly connected to the market and other stakeholders, improving the overall profitability.