The African Cassava Agronomy Initiative (ACAI) planning meetings held recently in Ibadan, Nigeria, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, raised hopes of a bright future for AKILIMO and the ACAI project. The planning meetings brought partners together. One of the highlights was the formation of AKILIMO Nigeria and AKILIMO Tanzania to sustain the use of AKILIMO beyond the life span of ACAI.

This process was largely successful, with participants overwhelmingly voting for the names: AKILIMO Nigeria and AKILIMO Tanzania from a list of suggestions such as AKILIMO Community of Practice and AKILIMO Association.

AKILIMO is a tool developed by the ACAI project to give agronomic advice to cassava farmers. The tool provides tailored recommendations to farmers on cassava cultivation in fertilizer application, Six Steps to Cassava Weed Management and Best Planting Practices, intercropping cassava with sweet potatoes (for Tanzania), and Maize (for Nigeria).

As part of a sustainability strategy and for training purposes, partners agreed to package AKILIMO into modules for offline use and make it downloadable from websites. Given this, partners decided to create a platform that prioritizes AKILIMO’s interests; and reduces bottlenecks to collaboration.   Before now, the partners did not have access to a collectively owned platform that would bring them together for further interactions on AKILIMO use and other emerging issues in the cassava value chain in both countries.

The forum decided that AKILIMO Nigeria and AKILIMO Tanzania would be owned and driven entirely by the partners. Accordingly, a committee was set up to draft the Terms of Reference (TOR) within 30 days to define the organization’s structures clearly.

These developments are indicators of AKILIMO’s potentials, especially regarding attaining the maximum level of dissemination and sustainability. ACAI expects AKILIMO to go even further, especially with complete support from partners. The ACAI project desires to see more cassava growers benefit from this initiative which will help them record high yields and improved income.

Source: ACAI Updates