Following the African Cassava Agronomy Initiative’s efforts to promote the use of AKILIMO tools, the ACAI project team has impressed Extension agents (EAs), regional and local government officials in Kigoma region on the AKILIMO functionality and are now awaiting capacity building so that they can disseminate this technology to farmers in various locations in Kigoma region. Kigoma region is one of the potential areas for cassava production in Tanzania as they produce high quantity of cassava for food security and commercial purposes. The region currently exporting dried cassava to Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda
This was demonstrated at the meeting held physically in Kigoma region on 2nd -3rd June 2021. Frederick Baijukya, Thompson Ogunsanmi and Mwantumu Omari demonstrated the use of various formats of AKILIMO to EAs, and District Officials. The goal of the meeting is to integrate AKILIMO tools into operational plans of new partners as a way of scaling and sustaining the use of AKILIMO.
During the demonstration, The ACAI team demonstrated to the EAs, Extension agents , District Officials, representatives from Kigoma rural, Uvinza district, Kigoma municipal and Regional Agricultural advisor ( Joseph Rubuye) were taken through various formats of AKILIMO tools such as AKILIMO app, printable guides, Viamo services,and video show etc. These tools offer an agronomic advice for Fertilizer recommendations for cassava (FR), Weed Management and Best Planting Practice (WM-/BPP), and Schedule Planting and High Starch Content (SP-HS).
The meeting also enabled ACAI to get feedback from partners on the various tools and their preferred choice for easy dissemination with farmers to improve productivity of cassava crops as well as to increase their income.
The representatives were much impressed with AKILIMO App over other formats simply because it gives site specific recommendations which helps farmers to make decisions. The representatives anticipate that the App will encourage farmers to boost their productivity as it will be used in conjunction with printable guides
In addition, representatives acknowledged that smartphone is not a barrier for farmers to use the AKILIMO app as at least one member of each family own smartphone and for those who do not can rely on neighbors or Extension agents.
AKILIMO app is available at google play store and provides recommendations directly on the smartphone. The App provides yield predictions along with customized recommendations, optimizing investments in the cassava system to maximize net returns. Also, it collects minimal essential user data such as GPS location, land area and input and commodity prices in a stepwise manner and interacts with a prediction engine on the central AKILIMO server to generate recommendations.
The ACAI team plans to build capacities of Extension agents between August and September 2021 so that they can have the knowledge and skills to disseminate AKILIMO tools to cassava farmers in the Kigoma region.