The Department of Agricultural Extension Services (DAES) under the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in Nigeria will partner with ACAI project to disseminate and use the AKILIMO recommendations for agronomy advice given to farmers by extension agents allied to the government.

ACAI will provide agronomy content developed under the AKILIMO suite of decision support tools that will be integrated into the planned trainings across Nigeria for cassava farmers. DAES Director Frank Kudla and Assistant Director Ngozi Odunze hosted ACAI Projects Scaling Specialist Thompson Ogunsanmi and Monitoring, Learning and Evaluation Specialist Theresa Ampadu-Boakye at the FMARD offices in Abuja for the talks.

The IITA team made presentations on the research background by the ACAI project, the development of AKILIMO, outputs, capabilities and benefits of using the tools at farmer level and the gaps that the tools will address. AKILIMO suite of decision support tools provides tailored agronomy advice for cassava farmers to optimize their income from investments they have made in their farms. Properly applied recommendations together with basic good agronomic practices will help farmers increase both their yield and make smart investment decisions in their cassava farming.

Director Kudla noted the significant role that the AKILIMO tools will play in improving the production of cassava in Nigeria. Kudla said ACAI is welcome to collaborate with DAES and the National Agricultural Extension and Research Liaison Services (NAERLS) to make the new training materials on cassava agronomy available to extension agents.

AKILIMO will also be integrated in the farmer helpline through the short code messages and interactive video response technology that DAES and NAERLS is in the process of developing. Speaking after the meeting Theresa appreciated the DAES warm reception of the AKILIMO tools as positive and pragmatic approach toward solving pressing issues in the cassava value chain.

“The directorate has also agreed that join the efforts to review the existing extension manual and integrate specific aspects of AKILIMO in the document.” Said Theresa. The meeting was first of several levels of discussions that will see collaboration between IITA through the ACAI project with DAES and NAERLS intensified with a common objective to improve cassava agronomy.