The Kogi State Government has isolated cassava farms in Adavi Local Government Area for thorough examination to ascertain the origin of the killer cassava variety, which recently killed some livestock in the area. Mr James Ogunmola, Managing Director, Kogi State Agricultural Development Project (ADP), made this known at a stakeholders meeting in Lokoja on Friday.
Ogunmola said that samples of the cassava variety had been taken to National Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI), Umudike, Abia State, for laboratory analysis. He said that state government took proactive steps to stop further sale of the cassava, adding that agricultural experts were already examining the morphology of that particular variety of cassava. He urged the people in the area not to panic over the issue, adding, however, that farmers should always follow the appropriate procedures in acquiring and cultivating improved seed varieties.
Ogunmola said that the ADP, over the years, had identified improved varieties of cassava through the Federal Government’s Root and Tuber Expansion Programme. “More than 100 varieties of cassava have emerged and farmers are planting them all over the place. “The killer variety with high concentration of hydrogen cyanide resembles the Oko-Iyawo variety, which is very popular in the south-western part of the country.
“For easy identification of the killer variety, its leaves and stem are very reddish in colour like the Oko-Iyawo variety but the pitch of the red colour is deeper,’’ he said. News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that seven goats reportedly died after feeding on the peels of the killer cassava variety in Adavi early this week. A woman, Mrs Omotayo Yakubu, was said to have bought the cassava tubers from Nagari market in Adavi for processing into fufu, while her friend took the cassava peels home for her goats.
The two goats that ate the peels reportedly died instantly and Mrs Yakubu, after hearing the news, fed her five goats with the peels to confirm the incident and her goats also died. NAN gathered that the alarmed woman promptly informed the authorities of the development and the government promptly commenced investigations into the matter.