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African Development Bank’s seed-bulking scheme boosts cassava yields in Zambia

For centuries, African farmers across the continent have grown cassava. But Zambia’s cassava growers were not deriving as much out of the crop as was possible. Farmers in the southern African country used low-quality planting materials and suffered from poor harvests leading to hunger and poverty across many of the country’s villages. To tackle this problem, the African Development Bank, through its Technologies for African Agriculture Transformation in the Savannahs (TAAT-S) flagship initiative, implemented by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), provided Zambian farmers with a solution known as “seed bulking”.

This involves collecting seeds from a target crop and then growing them in a controlled setting. Using this method, farmers can multiply their bank of seeds, making them more secure and able to scale-up productivity. Five types of high-yielding cassava seeds were successfully introduced in an effort to boost yields and make the landlocked nation less reliant on food imports. Experts believe that modified seeds could help millions of smallholder farmers to get bigger harvests and earn extra cash.

Read more at AFDB