No fewer than 30,000 farmers from Abia, Benue, Oyo, Ogun and Osun states will benefit from the training on the six steps to cassava weed management and best planting practices in November.The training is being organised by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, IITA, Ibadan, and African Cassava Agronomy Initiative, ACAI.
The IITA Digital Extension and Advisory Services Specialist, Godwin Atser, made this known in a statement on Saturday in Ibadan.
Mr Atser said that the training was aimed at empowering farmers with the knowledge to boost cassava and maize productivity and yield per hectare.
This, he added, would subsequently increase farmers’ incomes, improve their standard of living and create jobs for more people.
He said that the trainings would be done in collaboration with the Oyo State Agricultural Development Programmes, ADPs, and other extension service providers.
“To ensure a seamless and successful dissemination of the six steps to cassava weed management and best planting practices tool, the team has developed videos and translated same into local languages: Igbo, Yoruba and Tiv, targeting the respective zones.
“The ACAI team has also procured mini-projectors and mobile phones to empower extension service providers in the participating states.
“The six steps to cassava weed management tool was first developed by the IITA Cassava Weed Management Project. The tool has since integrated the best planting practices of ACAI.
“Farmers, who use the toolkit, have more than doubled their cassava yield from the national average of nine tonnes per ha to more than 20 tonnes per ha.
“It is amazing to see how the tool is changing the face of cassava farmers,” he said.
The 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.
According to Mr Dixon, beyond Nigeria, several other countries have requested for the toolkit with ACAI team training partners in Liberia, Tanzania, Burundi and Zambia.
“Apart from the use of videos, the ACAI team has put up the recommendations from the tool on the 3-2-1 service of Airtel.
“In this, 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.
“The idea is to get the recommendations to thousands of farmers across Nigeria and Tanzania so that they can get better yield from cassava farming,” Mr Dixon said.