In 2020, African Cassava Agronomy Initiative, (ACAI) Project, made the first steps of moving AKILIMO into the mainstream of the early academic system in Nigeria. Working together with project partners in various states, ACAI introduced AKILIMO to university, high school, and primary school students in a program that will see AKILIMO integrated into a university program and assimilated to pupils extra-curricula activities at lower levels of learning.
At Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), ACAI, in conjunction with Sasakawa Africa Association (SG2000), organized a workshop designed to expose OAU staff to all AKILIMO tools. The workshop was also an opportunity for the OAU team determine sections of AKILIMO tools to be integrated into the teaching curriculum of Online Bachelor of Science program.
The workshop was both virtual and physical and coordinated at the Distance Learning Centre (DLC) of OAU, Moro, Osun State. It was attended by 45 participants (17 virtually and 28 physically), comprising state coordinators of Notore and SG2000, OAU staff, and ACAI (IITA) staff.
Elsewhere, the ACAI team together with Cassava Adding Value for Africa II, (CAVA II) project organised dissemination activities on AKILIMO tools for several schools and colleges in Ogun State. The schools that benefited from this initiative are Abeokuta Grammar School and Lisabi Grammar School. This is to help reach farmers who have children in schools.
It is believed that this initiative will help the young people to familiarize with the AKILIMO tools early and pick-up relevant information for use and application as convenient. Members of the Young Farmers Association, a popular initiative for pupils interested in agricultural ventures and knowledge in Nigeria enjoyed the session with the ACAI team fielding questions on the innovations within the cassava agronomy. The students were taken through stimulating activities which included videos on Six Steps on Cassava Weed Management and Best Planting Practices as well as Safe Use of Herbicides.
These training programs are part of ACAI’s efforts to build up a generation of farmers who will have a full and proper understanding of agricultural best practices while at the same time having at their disposal sufficient technology to pursue and make their dreams a reality. Considering ACAI’s aim at sustainability, this move of engaging aspiring and upcoming farmers is certainly a step in the right direction.