The stakeholders 2-days workshop organized by African Cassava Agronomy Initiative (ACAI) held in Lagos came to an end on Thursday, July 2021 with several stakeholders in attendance such as the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), National Root Crop Research Institute (NRCRI), Sasakawa African Association (SG2000), Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta (FUNAAB), Notore Chemical Industries, Centre for Inclusive Agriculture & Gender Development (CIA-GED), Cedro Royal Limited, National Agriculture and Extension Liaison Services (NAERLS), and other key stakeholders in the agriculture sector have called for the adoption of ‘AKILIMO’, smart agriculture, to boost cassava production in Nigeria.
AKILIMO was coined from two Swahili words ‘Akili’ (smart) and ‘Kilimo’ (agriculture), Smart Agriculture; a cassava production advice tool. AKILIMO helps smallholder cassava farmers to increase productivity and improve their livelihood in terms of increased profits.
The Scaling Specialist for the AKILIMO Promotion, Dr. Thompson Ogunsanmi, said the adoption of AKILIMO by the NAERLS was necessary to boost cassava production in the country. He harped on the effectiveness of the tool in improving farmers’ productivity not only in the country but in Tanzania were about 200,000 farmers had embraced the concept. “AKILIMO provides site-specific recommendations in cassava production through different Decision Support Tools (DSTs) developed by ACAI and other partners to help farmers decide whether to invest more or not in fertilizers or herbicides.
“AKILIMO helps farmers produce cassava all-year-round especially with the application of the DST for scheduled planting. “Now we want to spread the news of the proven technology in AKILIMO that can assist cassava farmers to cultivate cassava effectively,” said Ogunsanmi. According to him, ACAI has so far reached about 217,000 smallholder cassava farmers in Nigeria and Tanzania. “In Nigeria alone, we have reached 97,000 farmers already using the technology at different stages. “With the project coming to an end, we want to ensure NAERLS takes up the use of AKILIMO tools as one of the sustainability strategies to continue to help boost cassava productivity in the country,” Ogunsanmi said.
The Executive Director, NAERLS, Prof. Emmanuel Ikani, promised that his organization would support the adoption of AKILIMO. “We are in support of ACAI project and AKILIMO technology or innovation developed. The tools are assisting in the promotion of cassava, and access to market information, inputs, and development robust partnership, and I think the country will be better off in cassava production for use of AKILIMO tools and other proven technologies like this. “This is because the dependence on petroleum has failed us as a nation. The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) for the last quarter indicated that agriculture has taken its rightful place,” the don said.