National Root Crops Research Institute has the zonal mandate for the total Farming Systems Research and Extension (FSR&E) of South East agro-ecological zone of Nigeria covering the five States of the Southeast geopolitical zone namely, Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, and Imo States. To achieve this mandate Research Outreach Department (ROD) is divided into three programmes, Farming Systems Research Programme (FSRP), Extension Services Programme (ESP) and Post Harvest Technology Programme (PHTP).
OBJECTIVES OF RESEARCH OUTREACH DEPARTMENT:
- Identification of agricultural activities, production constraints and opportunities, development of improved technologies to solve identified farmers’ constraints using on-station and on-farm research approaches and transfer of the improved technologies to farmers via monthly Technology Review Meetings (MTRMs), Fortnightly Trainings (FNT), field visits and workshops
- Extension Services Programme of National Root Crops Research Institute is responsible for promotion, popularization and dissemination of relevant research findings developed by the Institute through the use of various strategic and cost effective contact methods.
Development of technologies for storage, processing and utilization (value addition) of root and tuber crops (cassava, yam, sweetpotato, cocoyam, ginger and minor root crops).
• Development and transfer of improved production packages (crop varieties ,optimum spacing, population, optimum rate and time for fertilizer application, weed control measures and crop compatibilities, staking methods in yam based systems, harvesting –for maximum productivity for root and tuber crops.
• Development of root crops/ livestock lateral integration technologies, especially the use root crop economic yield and crop residues for feeding poultry and grasscutter
• Development of several food forms from various roots and tuber crops (28 from sweetpotato, 26 from cassava, 22 cocoyams, over 24 from water yam and numerous food forms from minor root crops such as Hausa potato, turmeric, amora), production of various types of drinks from ginger and orange fleshed sweetpotato.
• Development of prolonged storage for 12-15 months of polyethylene-packaged gari under ambient conditions, improved yam barn for enhanced shelf life of the yam (Dioscorea spp.) tuber and Pit storage of ginger (Zingiber officinale) rhizomes under river sand and under dry grass for 12 weeks.
• Production of de-watered cassava mash pulverizer/sifter, root/tuber chipping machine, hydraulic jack, cassava mash de-watering machine with a starch recovery device, ginger splitting machine, cassava chips cabinet dryer, manual cassava pelletizer and manual cassava peeler.
• Production of several volumes of extension guides, leaflets on several subject matters on root and tuber crops and Institute’s News Bulletin of agricultural information
• Production of series of radio/television agricultural programmes in four national & local media houses annually.
• Establishment of demonstration Farm on improved root and tuber crops varieties and practices using schools and adopted village concepts, training of over 3000 women groups on improved processing and value addition to root and tuber crops in the Institute’s Rural/Women Empowerment Programme, provision of relevant agricultural market information on root and tuber commodities to farmers and other end users, guided over 3000 visitors including students on tours to the Institute farms, laboratories and other facilities annually.
• Conducted several trainings of subject matter specialists of the ADPs, extension agents, farmers and other root crops entrepreneurs on improved root and tuber crops production, processing, utilization and business.
ADEYEMI OLOJEDE PhD, FASN
Director, Research Outreach Department
Km 8 Umuahia-Ikot Ekpene Road P.M.B 7006 Umuahia Abia State Nigeria