Tanzania Food and Nutrition Centre (TFNC), one of the ACAI primary partners, has established and planted 492 validation trial sites for AKILIMO and additional 46 demonstration sites across the ecological zones where ACAI is operating in Tanzania.

These plots were planted between October 2019 and April 2020 because of the varying ecological and climatic conditions across the country that dictate the planting and harvest windows. The regime used in planting and monitoring the plots follows the AKILIMO recommendations of the Six Steps to Cassava Weed Management and Best Planting Practices use case.

While the validation trials will be used to check the effectiveness of the AKILIMO recommendation when applied practically, the demonstration plots, on the other hand, will be used as a training location for farmers of the various aspects pertaining to practices advocated by the AKILIMO tools. The organization will also use the validation trial plots for training farmers.

Rhoda Mahava from TFNC proudly says “despite having our focus on best planting practices we have received increased interest for the whole of the AKILIMO tools recommendation and therefore will include other use cases in our training”. AKILIMO tools provide cassava farmers with tailored fertilizer recommendation, land preparation methods, weed management, planting densities and fertilizer application for intercropped cassava fields as well as planting and harvest dates for high cassava root starch quality and continuous supply of raw material.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, TFNC has resorted to training individuals rather than groups with respect to the guidelines issued by health officials to avoid infection and transmission of the disease.

The trials and demo plots were established and planted in collaboration with select secondary partners, local government authorities, extension agents, and strategic farmers. The secondary and primary partners working with ACAI are required to be active players in the cassava value chain.