…As BASICS-II sensitizes on the benefits of seed system for cassava

The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), through the Africa Cassava Agronomy Initiative (ACAI), has organized a three-day training on the Six Steps to Cassava Weed Management & Best Planting Practices for private extension service providers drawn from the Justice Development and Peace Movement, Oyo (JDPM Oyo); Justice Development and Peace Commission, Ibadan (JDPC Ibadan); Justice Development and Peace Commission, Ibadan (JDPC Osun); Justice Development and Peace Commission, Ibadan (JDPC Kwara); and Justice Development and Peace Initiative (JDPI Ado-Ekiti).

The training, which held 21 -23 September 2020 at the conference centre of IITA, was a mix of on-field practical sessions and ‘classroom’ interactions. The training  covered best-bet practices in site selection, types of weeds and  identification, pre-emergence herbicides application, tillage operations, use of improved planting materials, plant spacing, and  post-emergence weed management. The practical session focused on herbicides application/calibration and safe use.  The imperatives of using Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) tools and Open Data Kit (ODK) functionalities were also discussed.

The meeting also provided an opportunity for the Building an Economically Sustainable, Integrated Cassava Seeds System, Phase 2 (BASICS-II) project to sensitize participants on the importance/opportunities of  building a sustainable cassava seed system that will rev up the adoption of improved cassava varieties in the country .

IITA Digital Extension and Advisory Services Specialist, Godwin Atser, facilitated the training alongside other experts including the Project Manager of the BASICS-II project, Prof. Lateef Sanni; ACAI Scaling Specialist, Thompson Ogunsanmi; and ACAI Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, Adekunbi Saburi.

Prof Sanni who gave the welcome address, introduced the participants to the BASICS-II project. He explained that the JDPs can key into the project by functioning as Early Generation Seed (EGS) producers, Commercial Seed Entrepreneurs (CSEs) or even seed certifiers.

The participants were also exposed to the radio and television programs where Six Steps toolkit is disseminated, Arifu, 3-2-1 Viamo service, IITA Herbicide Calculator and other digital tools in use by ACAI.

Responding, the Head of Programs, JDPC Ibadan, Mrs Bolanle Olorode, who spoke on behalf of the participants commended the training and pledged to stepdown the training to other farmers.