Farmers in Ihima Oku Abanyi, Kogi State would be smiling at the bank after harvesting a 43-hectare cassava farm, which they cultivated with support from a World Bank implemented project Agro-processing Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support Project (APPEALS).
APPEALS is a project targeted at small and medium-scale farmers. It was initiated by the Nigerian government and implemented with the support of the World Bank.
It is expected that 35 per cent of the beneficiaries of the project will be women and youths who will be empowered along Rice, Cocoa, Poultry, Cashew, Maize, Ginger, Diary, Wheat, Tomato, Cassava and Aquaculture value chains.
In Oku Abanyi, the Kogi State APPEALS project provided the farmers with farm inputs, trained them on good agronomic practices which are expected to double their yield.
The average yield expected is 20 tons per hectare, a ton of cassava is sold for about N50,000 and the farmers cultivated 43-hectares of cassava farm.
John Omeiza Sariki, Cluster Chairman of Ihima Oku Abanyi, said APPEALS started supporting them in 2020.
He said they are divided into two groups and have 43 hectares of cassava farm cultivated with the support of the APPEALS project.
He said before APPEALS intervened, they were cultivating about 4 to 5 hectares, using local farm implements.
“APPEALS helped us with ploughing, harrowing and ridges for the 43 hectares and they supported us with farm inputs. They supplied us with herbicides, fertilizers and provided us with tricycle, cutlass, wheelbarrow, knapsack sprayer and other things.
“They trained us on how to apply fertilizer, how to plant cassava stem and the management of farm”, he said.
On the expected output, Sariki said “we are expecting from 25 tons to 30 tons per hectare before were getting just 10 tons per hectare.
“Before the intervention from APPEAL, we were getting about N300,000 per hectare, but currently, the price of cassava has increased to about N50,000 per ton.
Another cassava farmer Alao Ojo said APPEALS has taken them through many training on the security of their farms, keeping records, farm maintenance.
“The training helped us a lot because our eyes are open to so many things we didn’t know before.
“During the training, we were taught how to do spacing when planting, before we just plant anyhow, but now we are able to know the maximum space to give during planting, how to apply fertilizer, how to apply herbicides”, he added.
The Kogi State Coordinator of APPEALS Project Dr Sanni Ozomata said they are expecting an average of 20 tons per hectare, and they supported the cultivation of 1,044 hectares, in total, they are expecting 20,088 metric tons of cassava.
For the cassava stem, he said APPEALS is expecting 400 metric tons per hectare and supported the planting of 1,044 hectares, which will now give a total of 417,600 tons of cassava.