African Cassava Agronomy Initiative (ACAI) project has entered into a partnership with Growsel, an award-winning financial inclusion nonprofit Agro-Tech startup to facilitate the use the ACAI-developed AKILIMO recommendation tools.
According to a memorandum of understanding signed between the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) on behalf of ACAI and Growsel, the partnership will see AKILIMO integrated into the Growsel core services to cassava growers in Nigeria.
The partnership is set to bring AKILIMO recommendation tools to more than 10,000 cassava growers and youth entrepreneurs in agriculture in Nigeria. Growsel will also collaborate with other entities both within and outside the project to reach an extended network of extension agents, lead farmers and agro-dealers in Oyo, Ogun and Benue states.
ACAI will provide technical support for training and make all necessary tools available to facilitate capacity building of the farmers, extension agents and technicians attached to the AKILIMO dissemination, and use initiative by the two entities. IITA agreed with Growsel to train 25 EAs and selected members of the Oyo State Cassava Grower Association (OYSCGA) and Kolping Society of Nigeria (KSN) on different modules on the use of technology, crop testing and quality checks based on buyers’ specifications, crop aggregation, shipment, and digital payments systems. AKILIMO tools will be integrated into mobilizing all cassava farmers in the networks of Growsel.
AKILIMO is a suit of agronomy advice tools that help cassava farmers optimize the return on their investment in cassava growing by recommending a regime on practices based on the location, farming objectives and risk attitude of the farmers.
Growsel creates market linkages and supports financing for resource-poor smallholder farmers as well as information on best agronomic practices via digital platforms. AKILIMO will be incorporated into the Growsel platforms including interactive SMS services for rural farmers without access to the internet.
The partnership between ACAI and Growsel will last for the duration of the ACAI project with the expectation that Growsel with other ACAI partners will be able to sustain the running of the AKILIMO tools independent of the ACAI/IITA team.