The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan in collaboration with the African Cassava Agronomy Initiative (ACAI) is set to train no fewer than 30,000 farmers on the “Six Steps to Cassava Weed Management and Best Planting Practices.’
IITA Digital Extension and Advisory Services Specialist, Mr. Godwin Atser, who revealed this in a statement in Ibadan, noted that the farmers would be selected from five states including; Abia, Benue, Oyo, Ogun, and Osun states.
He said the training aims to improve farmers’ knowledge on increasing the productivity of cassava and maize yield per hectare.
“This will subsequently increase farmers’ incomes, better their livelihoods, and create jobs for more people,” he added.
He noted that the training would be done in close collaboration with state Agricultural Development Programs (ADPs) and other extension service providers.
According to him, the team has developed a video translated into different local languages such as Igbo, Yoruba, and Tiv, to ensure effective dissemination of the Six Steps to Cassava Weed Management and Best Planting Practices tool.
The ACAI team has also procured mini-projectors and mobile phones to empower extension service providers in the participating states.
Atser said, “It is amazing to see how the Six Steps to Cassava Weed Management and Best Planting Practices Decision Support Tool is changing the face of cassava farmers.”
On his part, IITA Director for Development and Delivery, Dr. Alfred Dixon described the toolkit as an innovation that combined a set of agronomic recommendations and plant protection products to control weeds and increase cassava productivity.
He said several other African countries have requested for the toolkit with ACAI team training partners in Liberia, Tanzania, Burundi, and Zambia.
The ACAI team has also raised recommendations from the six steps on Cassava Weed Management and Best Planting Practices on the 3-2-1 service of Airtel where subscribers in Nigeria can dial 3-2-1 and get information on cassava weed management and other agronomic practices free of charge up to 10 times in a month.
Dixon said, “The idea is to get the recommendations to thousands of farmers across Nigeria and Tanzania so they can get a better yield from cassava farming.”