ACAI has started a series of data management training for staff members from the national research systems, NARS, in the project target countries. NARS staff from Nigeria and Tanzania are being trained on data collection using ODK suite tool, data analysis in R, and geospatial information system GIS methods and approaches using the ArcGIS and QGIS software.
Participants in the training program are drawn from the National Root Crops Research Institute, NRCRI, the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, FUNAAB both from Nigeria and Tanzania and Zanzibar Agricultural Research Institutes, TARI, and ZARI.
The first training session was held in early March by ACAI project coordinator and senior Agronomist Dr. Pieter Pypers. Dr. Pypers conducted training for the NARs partners on digital data collection covering effective agronomy research and database management.
IITA Data Scientist Dr. Meklit Chernet led the second session of the training for the partners on data analysis using R software. In April 2019, IITA GIS specialist Mr. Alabi Tunrayo gave the third session of the training on geospatial analysis using QGIS.
The training is part of the ACAI objective to build the capacity of the national research systems for them to engage in transformative cassava agronomy research. The project has lined 9 virtual sessions to equip the NARs participants with necessary skills to handle, analyze and interpret complex data using digital tools. In September, classroom training will be held in both countries to further advance the skills of the participants.
Dr. Busari Mutiu, a senior lecturer in Soil Science and Land Management at FUNAAB commended the ACAI leadership for the initiative which will diversify the NARs partners’ skillset beyond the project needs.
“These trainings are very well organized and will have a great deal of impact on the plans for the sustainability of the project. We find (the training) useful and satisfactory.” Said Dr. Busari. The senior lecturer is also leading ACAI research activities in the South West of Nigeria.
The project together with the NARs partners will evaluate the progress of the training in the 3rd Quarter of 2019. The evaluation will guide the team in developing further plans for in-depth detailed training for the participants in 2020.