In a bid to facilitate AKILIMO sustainability, partners agreed to continue the collection of data beyond the lifespan of the ACAI project. Remarks from partners during the planning meeting in Nigeria and Tanzania raised optimistic expectations; all partners considered data collection to be an essential component of their sustainability strategy in the use of AKILIMO tools in their operations.

Partners will continue to collect data in their various formats, with some employing digital means and others utilizing traditional techniques, depending on the financial strength of their organizations. Psaltry International Limited and Notore Chemicals in Nigeria intend to continue the use of AKILIMO with the combination of  Farm force and FiPAS respectively for their data collection. ZARI, TYDG, Kilimo Joint (in Tanzania) and KOLPING Nigeria, OYSCGA, JDPM (in Nigeria) plans to continue data collection by using the AKILIMO app which also helps in decision making.  ZARI will also continue to train EAs and farmers.

In a welcome development, a recent presentation from the MEL team, presented by Saburi Adekunbi, revealed encouraging numbers from MEL data on farmers’ use and uptake. According to the presentation, partners reached out to 380,086 farmers in total through various dissemination events and EA participant list. In Nigeria, the number of farmers – both male and female – as at February, 2021 stood at 193,620 (114,660 males, 78,960 females). In Tanzania, 184,605 (114,181 males, 70,424 females) farmers were reached. All these farmers were mobilized through various dissemination events – video shows, training, sensitization events, field days, demonstration fields, and agricultural shows.

As seen in the MEL presentation, the partners have developed the best solution to address the challenge of low female participation; there has been an increase in their participation compared to the year 2020. The partners proposed to increase the rate of women in the use and uptake of AKILIMO tools and to work with affiliated women groups to strengthen and promote the transfer of education to these women.

In this regard, ACAI Scaling  Specialist (Thompson Ogunsanmi) with the Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning Specialist (Theresa Ampadu-Boakye, Theresa) are also looking into more strategic options to addressing all bottlenecks that partners might face in the dissemination and data collection process respectively. Data collection includes the use of the ODK dashboard for storing data. This way, partners will have complete access to information sharing, both among themselves and with other stakeholders/value chain actors in their organizations. This helps to sustain dissemination and data collection beyond the lifespan of the ACAI project.