June 27, 2023

Gabon: AfDB supervision mission hails TAAT’s technology delivery model

Visit of the cassava demonstration plot by the PAPG1 project Task Manager and the PIU in Mouila, Gabon

The African Development Bank has commended the technology delivery efforts of Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) in the ongoing Grain Phase 1 Support Project (Projet d’appui au Programme Graine Phase 1 (PAPG1) in Gabon.

This was made known during the 19-23rd June 2023 supervisory mission organised by the bank to PAPG1 sites in the country.

Ms Celestine Mengue, the leader of the supervisory mission and the Project’s Task Manager at the African Development Bank declared her satisfaction with the visible results of TAAT’s technology delivery efforts as evidenced in the training of trainers on rapid cassava propagation systemusing SAH technology, the swift deployment of technologies for Early Generation Seed (EGS) multiplication, and plantain tissue culture plants.

“I am satisfied with what TAAT is doing for this project,” Ms Mengue said. “This is really appreciated and we should ensure the elaboration of a clear plan to maintain the planted field by the national partners,” she added.

It would be recalled that TAAT in November 2022 signed a $3.3 million agreement with Gabon to support the cassava and plantain seed system in the country.

Under the framework of this agreement, TAAT is expected to strengthen Gabon’s cassava and plantain seed systems by providing 5 million healthy cassava cuttings and 667 thousand plantain tissue culture plants. The government will further multiply these seeds through its agency, the Société de Transformation Agricole et de Développement Rural (SOTRADER), to promote annual crops for further multiplication and distribution to the farmers by December 2023.

TAAT will also deploy proven technologies through the establishment of the semi-autotrophic hydroponic (SAH) propagation at the national agriculture and forest research institute IRAF (Institut de Recherches Agronomiques et Forestières) and the national institute for agriculture and biotechnology INSAB (Institut National Supérieur d’Agronomie et de Biotechnologies). TAAT is equally expected to assist in the planting of 300ha of cassava and 900ha of plantain.

Within eight months of project implementation, TAAT, through the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), has introduced fourteen improved cassava varieties in Gabon from nearby Cameroon, which share similar agroecology. The varieties were set into the cassava trial and cassava demonstration plots in four provinces in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture.

The varieties introduced by TAAT were selected mainly for their high yield and resistance to major cassava pests and diseases. The Task Manager urged TAAT to ensure that leave production is prioritised through the newly-introduced cassava varieties, as there is a growing market for cassava leaves in Gabon.

Responding to the Task Manager’s call, Dr Apollin Fotso averred that the IITA-TMS-920326 and IITA-TMS-960023 were included in the varieties deployed for enhanced leaf production.

The Government of the Republic of Gabon launched the ambitious agricultural programme called the Grain Phase 1 Support Project (Projet d’appui au Programme Graine Phase 1 (PAPG1) in 2022 with support from the African Development Bank.

The government seeks to boost the production of four food crops, including plantain and cassava. With a focus on strengthening the seed system in the country, PAPG1 is set to increase Gabon’s self-sufficiency in cassava to 100% by 2030 while promoting the sale of an additional 44,000 tons of cassava; and 46,438 tons of banana/plantain, thus creating 5,100 permanent jobs and 17,300 temporary jobs, 75% which will be women and youth.

June 2023 Supervision Mission to Gabon by AfDB and TAAT