The African Cassava Agronomy Initiative team met on the 21st and 22nd of June in Zanzibar to review the second season results and plan for the project’s third season activities that will be undertaken during the 2017-2018 season in Tanzania.
The ACAI in-house planning meeting organized by Dr. Veronica NE Uzokwe of ACAI Tanzania included a series of presentations by the ACAI project leadership and ACAI implementing partners. The presentations highlighted the progress that the project has made as well as the challenges that faced.
Mrs Bernadetha Kimata, agronomist / plant breeder at ARI-Naliendele and leading the implementation of ACAI activities in the Southern Zone, highlighted good collaboration with MEDA and CAVA-II that has led to successful site selection and establishment of over 200 trials across use cases carried out in the zone.
ACAI is carrying out field trials for the project use cases in four zones in Tanzania; Lake Zone, Southern Zone, Eastern Zone and Zanzibar. Laurent Aswile, ACAI Site Representative from the Eastern Zone, reported that farmers in the region had started adopting ridging in their cassava farm, learning from their peers who are participating in the ACAI trials.
ACAI project coordinator, Dr. Abdulai Jalloh gave an in-depth illustration of the project critical path, pointing out milestones that the project has collectively achieved based on the project work streams. Dr. Abdulai pointed out that the project was on course with data parameterization and modelling framework for Decision Support System for Agrotechnology Transfer (DSSAT) and Quantitative Evaluation of the Fertility of Tropical Soils (QUEFTS) models.
Key issues discussed and agreed upon included modalities that will guide data collection in field trials, guidelines for the baseline survey, communication and weed management. The project will launch a Shiny App in September 2017 that will be used to track progress against milestones.
Extended sessions also had participants discuss and formulate action points to enable capitalization on the information gathered by extension workers, and the development of the framework and interface of the decision support tools. ACAI has facilitated installation of over 60 rain gauges across the project zones for collecting rain data that will provide vital data for the development of the decision support tools.
The meeting brought together ACAI’s primary research and strategic partners, national research organizations as well as implementing partners at national level with representation from ZARI, ARI, FCI, FJS, CAVA-II, MEDA, Minjingu fertilizers, CABI, AfSIS, DAICO and eSOKO.
Participants at the meeting were taken for a site visit to the on-station trial farm at the ZARI research station and to two farmers’ fields within Unguja, Zanzibar.