The African Cassava Agronomy Initiative (ACAI) planning meetings held in Ibadan, Nigeria, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, raised hopes for a bright future for AKILIMO ahead of the ACAI project. The planning meetings brought partners together and one of the highlights was the formation of AKILIMO Nigeria and AKILIMO Tanzania to sustain the use of AKILIMO beyond the life span of ACAI.
This process was largely successful, receiving overwhelming support from the participants, with the names: AKILIMO Nigeria and AKILIMO Tanzania emerging with the highest votes from a list of suggestions such as: AKILIMO Community of Practice and AKILIMO Association.
AKILIMO is a tool developed by the ACAI project which gives agronomic advice to cassava farmers. The tool provides tailored recommendations to farmers on aspects of cassava cultivation such as fertilizer application, steps to cassava weed management and the best planting practices, intercropping cassava with sweet potatoes (for Tanzania) and Maize (for Nigeria).
As part of a sustainability strategy, and for training purposes, partners agreed to package AKILIMO into modules for offline use and hosted by the website(s) for download by interested users. In view of this, a platform will be created to ensure that AKILIMO’s interests remain top of partners’ important priorities; all these are in a bid to reduce the bottlenecks partners might experience in collaborating. Partners are brought together for the specific purpose of sustaining the use of AKILIMO tools; previously, the partners did not have access to a collectively owned platform that would bring them together for further interactions on AKILIMO use and other emerging issues in the cassava value chain in both countries.
During the meetings, it was also decided that AKILIMO Nigeria and AKILIMO Tanzania would be owned and driven entirely by the partners. A committee was inaugurated with the responsibility of the drafting of the Terms of Reference (TOR) within 30 days so as to clearly define the organization’s structures.
These developments are indicators of the prospects of AKILIMO, especially as regards attaining the maximum level of dissemination and sustainability. ACAI expects AKILIMO to go even further, especially with complete support from partners; it is the desire of the ACAI Project to see more cassava growers benefit from this initiative which will help them achieve their desired outcomes such as high yields and good, improved income.