The African Cassava Agronomy Initiative (ACAI) project held a training session for the Tanzanian government extension officers on the use of Fertilizer Recommendation (FR), Weed Management and Best Planting Practices (WM/BPP) and Scheduled Planting and High Starch Content (SPHS) and the operation of various formats of the AKILIMO toolkit.

The ACAI team trained 67 participants from Bagamoyo and Chalinze districts in Pwani region and Handeni districts from Tanga region in a four-day workshop held in Bagamoyo in September. The training aimed at building the capacity of extension agents to train smallholder cassava farmers on the proper application of the AKILIMO agronomy advice tools as well as applying the best agronomic practices.
ACAI project coordinator for Tanzania, Freddy Baijukya, presented the functions and importance of using new technologies like AKILIMO Decision Support Tool for agricultural development.

“Smartphones have a lot of packages that can help farmers in collecting and accessing important information about cassava crop”, said Freddy.

The training included sessions on how to upload data to the ACAI platform by using Open Data Kit (ODK) that will be used to calibrate the AKILIMO prediction engine. Participants were also trained on how to interpret AKILIMO recommendations and how to apply them in their farming activities. Participants acknowledged that the training has been an advantage to both extension officers and farmers on increasing awareness that will help to improve agronomic practices.

“The training gave me enough knowledge on the adoption of new technology in cassava farming, I will apply the knowledge and disseminate it to other farmers” noted Ally Salahanga, an extension agent from Chalinze.

The District Agriculture, Irrigation and Cooperative officer (DAICO) from Chalinze, Jovin Bararata recognized the efforts made by ACAI in disseminating AKILIMO tool and delivering the necessary knowledge to different regions in the country.
The participatory approach of the training gave room for participants to give feedback on how helpful they find AKILIMO tool in supporting their decision making in cassava growing practices.

Source: Akilimo Updates