The 2020 Annual Review and Planning for the African Cassava Agronomy Initiative was held virtually owing to the Covid 19 pandemic. Despite the unprecedented circumstance within which the event was held, the ACAI family and partners held a largely successful event.
Review meetings of this nature provide an opportunity to reflect on the activities of the project in the course of the year, the achievements, learnings and prioritize key actions points for the next year.
Months after the launch of the program to finance cassava farmers in Handeni district, coastal region of Tanzania, ACAI project conducted a series of trainings on the use of the AKILIMO agronomy advice tools and the proper interpretation of the recommendations deployed by the tools.
Nigeria’s National Agricultural Extension and Research Liaison Services (NAERLS- https://naerls.gov.ng/) is in talks with the African Cassava Agronomy Initiative (ACAI) project towards the integration of AKILIMO into government extension package in Nigeria. NAERLS is one of the 18 National Agricultural Research Institutes (NARIs) under the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD).
KOLPING Society of Nigeria debuted a radio program to sensitize cassava farmers in Umuahia, Abia State, Nigeria, about applying improved agronomic practices by following recommendations given by the AKILIMO decision support tools. The radio program will be aired weekly by FLO-FM (94.9) radio station as a 30-minute interactive session.
The African Cassava Agronomy Initiative (ACAI) project scientists are working on optimizing crop models to improve the prediction of the AKILIMO decision support tools. The team is evaluating the performance of the Light Interception and Utilization (LINTUL) and Decision Support System for Agrotechnology Transfer (DSSAT) to predict the attainable yield of cassava under well managed agronomic field trial.
Four state governments in the south of Nigeria have allowed the African Cassava Agronomy Project (ACAI) project and its partner Sasakawa Africa Association (SG2000) to set up cassava demonstration and training plots for the AKILIMO decision support tools at all their zonal skill development locations.
The African Cassava Agronomy Initiative (ACAI) in a joint effort with ARIFU
has ensured the continuation of training farmers in Tanzania during the
coronavirus pandemic. Despite the semi lockdown and other measures out in place by health agencies to infections and spreading of the corona virus. ACAI and ARIFU have been carrying out virtual trainings with extension agents and farmers through teleconference phone calls.
Tanzania Food and Nutrition Centre (TFNC) one of the ACAI primary partners has established and planted 492 validation trial sites for AKILIMO and additional 46 demonstration sites across the ecological zones where ACAI is operating in Tanzania.
Extension agents working under the Justice Development and Peace Movement (JDPM), Oyo and the University of Agriculture Makurdi have concluded plans to resume training activities previously halted by the COVID-19 lockdown across the country under a cautious regime. The training activities will adhere strictly to the rules on physical distancing set by the country on COVID 19, coordinators from JPDM and UAM have said.
Kolping Society of Nigeria is the new addition to the ACAI project list of partners that will be instrumental in scaling the use of the AKILIMO decision support tools. Kolping Society of Nigeria is a faith-based organization that promotes social action for human development. The organization will integrate AKILIMO tools content as part of their training materials for farmers growing cassava within their membership location.
A collaboration between ACAI partners and the local government authorities in Tanzania has ensured a continuation of stakeholder trainings and farmer sensitization during the coronavirus pandemic. Kilimo Joint a capacity building and agricultural consulting enterprise and eSOKO an agricultural digital solutions company and an ACAI primary partner have teamed with government officials of Mkuranga District in the Eastern Zone of Tanzania to conduct training for selected new project partners and farmers on the use of fertilizer in growing cassava as recommended by the AKILIMO decision support tools.
The Department of Agricultural Extension Services (DAES) under the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in Nigeria will partner with ACAI project to disseminate and use the AKILIMO recommendations for agronomy advice given to farmers by extension agents allied to the government.