The African Cassava Agronomy Initiative (ACAI) project scientists demonstrated AKILIMO tools to cassava stakeholders and how they help to increase cassava productivity during the Dar es salaam International Trade Fair famously known as ‘Sabasaba exhibition’ in Dar es salaam Tanzania.
Sabasaba “a Swahili word for seven seven” is an annual national holiday occurring on 7th July to commemorate the founding of the Tanzanian political party TANU. The celebrations have become an important event for business in Eastern and Central Africa with over 3,500 exhibitors to showcase and sell their products and attracting around 700,000 tourists, being held at at the Mwalimu J.K.Nyerere Trade Fair Grounds organized by the Tanzania Trade Development Authority (TANTRADE), running for two weeks.
The ACAI team participated in the exhibitions to promote good agronomic practices through the use of AKILIMO tools to cassava stakeholders and disseminate the knowledge to more farmers to maximize their productivity in cassava value chain. The tool was showcased in different formats including printable guides, the AKILIMO app, interactive voice response (VIAMO 321) and interactive sms response (ARIFU).
AKILIMO offers a suite of tools and materials for cassava growers, extension workers and organizations that promote improved cassava cultivation practices. The tools provides agronomic advice on fertilizer recommendations, appropriate spacing, weed management and Best planting practices.
During the event, the ACAI agronomist, Abubakari Mzanda, highlighted to the visitors who visited the booth the importance of fertilizer application in increasing cassava yields.
“Most of the farmers have not been using fertilizers in cassava production, therefore the productivity has substantially decreased. But through proper use of fertilizer, taking into account on the right type of fertilizer, the right amount of fertilizer, the right time of application and the right method of application, one would be in better position to improve cassava productivity.” explained Mzanda
Many cassava growers face the challenge of poor motivation on cassava production. The ACAI team has been promoting cassava cultivation and this has awakened farmers to grow cassava to increase their incomes and improve livelihoods.
ACAI project is a five year project funded by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, implemented in five countries in Africa (Nigeria, Tanzania, DRC, Ghana and Kenya) aiming to increase the availability of appropriate and affordable technologies to sustainably improve short and long-term agricultural productivity in cassava in the target countries.