As the 2020 planting season approaches, researchers working in the IITA-managed African Cassava Agronomy Initiative (ACAI) have conducted Training of Trainers (ToT) for the Oyo State Cassava Growers Association (OYSCGA), Cassava Adding Value for Africa Phase II (CAVA II) project and the Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta (FUNAAB).

The aim of the training was to build the capacity of OYSCGA, CAVA-II and FUNAAB staff to conduct ‘step-down’ training for extension agents and local farmers in their domains.

The 3-day training was conducted by Stefan Hauser, IITA-ACAI’s Systems Agronomist; and other IITA staff including Dada Adeboye, Augustina Amaechi and Adebowale Adetunyi.

The first day of the training was used to discuss proper procedures for growing cassava. Different decision-making points were also identified and treated. In the afternoon session, participants were taken through a step-by-step discussion on the Best Planting Practices (BPP) and Weed Management (WM) paper tool and its recommendations. This included lucid explanations on the mode of action of different herbicides and when and under what conditions the different herbicides should be applied.

Dada Adeboye conducting the BPP validation harvest training

On the second day, the training continued with the BPP/WM worksheet, its decision-making points and step-by-step calculations. The participants were later assigned into seven groups and each was given a set of field sizes, operation prices and cassava root prices to calculate the profitability of ploughing and ridging. Remarkable results produced from the group tasks further accentuated the functionality and efficacy of the BPP/WM worksheet.

The third day was dedicated to field activities where participants got hands-on training on the use of the tools.

OYSCGA chairman, Mr Adesiyan Bashir later had discussions with farmers on their fields where they talked about the steps they applied, the successes they recorded and the areas that require improvement.

The ToT with OYSCGA held 4-6 March 2020 while that of CAVA-II and FUNAAB took place19-20 March.

OYSCGA chair Bashir Adesiyan and Dr Hauser discussing with farmers having weed problems