On the 2nd of September, 2021, African Cassava Agronomy Initiative (ACAI) organized sensitization training in a correctional facility in Akorede, Ibadan. The invitation to come was granted by the prison Agricultural Service Officer who had experience as an extension agent and has previously worked with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Mr. Alonge Ibikunle of the Department of Correctional Service (DCS) to train and sensitize farmers. The correctional facility has a community service program that helps people within the community especially farmers by giving them land around the prison to cultivate on and providing them with necessary trainings, sensitizations and farming exhibitions to encourage, impact and improve their knowledge about farming in order to reduce the crime rate.
In view of this, ACAI Scaling Specialist, Dr.Thompson Ogunsanmi, and Research Support Supervisor Mr. Ademola Adebiyi facilitated the training event. Several farmers came to the event to learn about AKILIMO and how it can be applied.
AKILIMO is a tool developed by the ACAI project which gives agronomic advice to cassava farmers. The tools provide 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).
The farmers in attendance at the event came with the expectations to learn more about modern-day agriculture and technology. They noted that this is also an opportunity to expose other farmers to these best practices. Some also mentioned that they would like to learn about mechanized farming, tools that can be used to ease farming as well as modern seeds that can be used to hasten crop production.
The sensitization included discussions about AKILIMO and its features and various other digital tools. Best planting practices and Fertilizer Recommendation videos were shown to enlighten the farmers about how important the farming practices are and the accurate application of fertilizer.
One of the farmers, Pastor Odewale, from the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) mentioned that the program was an enlightening one that exposed them to the use of fertilizer, weed management and, brought a change to their level of knowledge of farming. Another farmer named Mr. Kehinde Tijani mentioned that he was exposed to the types of cassava available and new information about planting and waiting periods before harvesting can take place.